Congress is not behind in joining the celeb race. Bhojpuri super star Ravi Kishan is contesting the election from Jaunpur, Nagma fromm Meerut and Raj Babbar from Gaziabad. In Maharashtra, Navneet Rana, an actor who married Ravi Rana (politician) is contesting election from Amravati with all her controversies, from Nationalist Congress Party.
It is not now that we see film stars, TV actors or sportsmen in politics, but it?s been going on since 1980s and before that M. G. Ramachandran, the Kollywood star from Tamil Nadu founded All India Dravida Munetra Kazhagam in 1972. J. Jayalallithaa, the current Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu state is an ex-film star who learnt politics under the mentorship of Ramachandran.
Amitabh Bachan the superstar actor became fought Lok Sabha elections from Allahabad in 1980s. Rajesh Khanna in 1970s became Congress campaigner and then an MP. In the current Parliament we see ex-Indian cricket captain Mohammed Azharruddin as a Congress MP from Moradabad, former team member Navjot Singh Siddhu is a Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Amritsar. This is a very small example of participation of celebrities in politics.
The first question is why do they join politics? This will be answered by 5P?s of ?Celebs in Politics?. Publicity, Power, Privileges regarding income and wealth tax (if in case they get lucky and their party wins), Past their prime and have lots of leisure time and so they join politics and Prosperity.
But, are these celebrities serious with what they are doing? Do they understand the responsibility? The Citizen report on Governance and Development 2008-09 came up with shocking statistics on Celebrity behavior in Parliament. This report stated that none of these members had an attendance above 20 per cent in Rajya Sabha in 2007.
Dharmendra has an attendance of as low as 1.5 cent per in Lok Sabha. He himself agrees that politics is not his cup of tea. This shows when he does not ask a single question in the house. On the other hand Hema Malini having a 10 per cent attendance is more active than her husband. She actively participates in asking questions and debates. Navjot Singh Siddhu has attendance of six percent in the house. He finds ?no josh? in politics and is seen going back to television and cricket commentary in the past few years. Sachin Tendulkar who is a member in Rajya Sabha has 27 per cent attendance. Even Mohammad Azharuddin rarely makes his presence felt in the parliament.
If this is the case, why do political parties accept celebrities? They charge hefty money for appearances in meetings and rallies. They add colour to the election period. In India the poor and uneducated are more familiar with celebrities and are star-struck. The glamour quotient captures voters? attention and vote.
India gives the liberty that anyone can join politics. And there are many politicians who are actually working for good. Ramachandran was the CM of Tamil Nadu since 1977-87 till he died. After him J. Jayalalitha became the Tamil Nadu CM in 1991 carrying forward Ramachandran?s AIDMK. In her tenure she banned lottery tickets, restricted the state for alcohol purchase, and regulated sand mining for government agencies. Southern film star Chiranjeevi was a federal minster till very recently.
And now, new party by actor/dancer/activist Rakhi Sawant, the Green Mirchi Party has come to the surface. Shabana Azmi, Govinda, Shatrugan Sinha, N.T Rama Rao, Jaya Bachchan, Raj Babar, Rekha and the list does not end here, there is a huge set of celebs all prepared for it.
And especially with the Aam Aadmi Party's drive actors / sportsperson / activist / businessmen / journalists all are joining politics. This may glamorize elections but there might be a possibility that this may be degenerating politics.