Danseuse Mallika Sarabhai says she may have entered electoral politics late but has been using her art to talk about issues affecting the people from the last 25 years.
Mallika, daughter of pioneer of Indian space programme Vikram Sarabhai and well known classical dancer Mrunalini, will take on BJP’s prime ministerial candidate LK Advani from Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat.
“The last 25 years I have been primarily using art to talk about social issues like women empowerment, social justice, and human rights issues,” Sarabhai told PTI in an interview.
“I have fought on issues with Modi (Gujarat chief minister) government and others when I felt social justice has been trampled off. So I just have taken one step ahead, from politics to electoral politics,” the dancer, who has been a vocal critic of Modi after the 2002 post-Godhra riots, said.
Speaking about her entry into active politics, 54-year-old-Sarabhai said, “the nexus of political parties which has led to such corruption and such disregard for people and regard only for staying in power and dynastic politics has disturbed us”.
“In this situation, I have always hoped that some other decent candidate will stand up, but when nobody has stepped in, I decided to step in myself,” Mallika, who will be contesting as an independent candidate, said.
Asked why she chose to contest against a powerful candidate like Advani who has won the elections four times from Gandhinagar seat, the dancer said, “Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat (which includes some part of Ahmedabad city also) is my constituency. I have been here for the last 54 years while he is here for the last 20 years.”
She said her political agenda is “betterment of people, social justice for all, equality for all as it is in our constitution, no gender bias and empowerment of voiceless”.
Sarabhai has been campaigning in the Gandhinagar constituency for the last 15 days visiting slums and villages to get support of voters.
Asked how she plans to win in the politically polarised environment, Mallika said, “I am proud of being an Hindu. But I am also a mother, dancer and that is also my identity”.
“I object when all my other identities are taken away and they try to put me in a small Hindu identity. You cannot reduce identities of people and then drum up hatred, we have to remind people that that this is not our only identity we are much more than just religious people,” she said.
Mallika says she will ensure transparency in the money spent on electioneering. “I have decided to collect money from donors to fight elections. I have also decided to put up the name of donors and money they donate as well as how I will spend it on my official website”.
She has so far collected Rs 4.90 laks as donations from people.
Asked what would be the one thing she would like to do if she is elected, “If I am elected as an MP I would teach them (people) to be humane again”.