‘Those who don’t vote should be jailed for a day’ | india | Hindustan Times
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‘Those who don’t vote should be jailed for a day’

The inspiration to jump onto the political bandwagon, says Salman Khan, came after hearing a speech by Congress minister Madhavrao Schindia when he dropped by at his school.

india Updated: Oct 14, 2009 19:58 IST
Sujata Reddy

The inspiration to jump onto the political bandwagon, says Salman Khan, came after hearing a speech by Congress
minister Madhavrao Schindia when he dropped by at his school. “This was 30 years ago but his words were so moving and he had such an impressive personality that it left a lasting impression,” says Khan.

He however restricts his involvement to campaigning for a candidate he believes in. He admits he’s often asked if he gets paid to do so but insists there is no money involved. “Baba Siddiqui is doing good work and if by campaigning for him, I can get him elected, I will have contributed to the change too,” he points out. He has three movies coming up but has still made time for Siddiqui. “Films will come and go but an opportunity to make a political difference comes only once in five years,” he explains.

A few years ago, Khan’s lack of political correctness made him a no-no with all parties but things have changed now. “Still, I’m not part of any party and may never be,” he asserts.

He recalls how the media made a big hue and cry when he couldn’t cast his vote in the last Lok Sabha elections because he was away, shooting in London. “If I was in town, I would surely have vote but I couldn’t return on time. Anyway, I’m not the kind who will pose with my ink blackened finger for the cameras,” he scoffs.

He insists that those who own ration cards and are in town but still don’t turn up for voting should be jailed for at least a day. “I’m sure then the voting percentage will shoot up. And political parties will take up the onus of getting you a ration card,” he reasons.

The worst kind of politician, he says, is the one who plays the communal card. “I have seen Hindus and Muslims live like part of one big family in so many places,” he says. “Communal tolerance will improve if people open up to
inter-religion marriages. A marriage is a great way to spread love. I’ve campaigned for various parties and realised that it is the candidate who makes a difference, not the party.”

His family, he says, is the best example of communal harmony: “We celebrate all festivals and religion is never an issue at home.”