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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014

Miss led by charm

Khushwant Singh, Hindustan Times  Hoshiarpur, January 16, 2014
First Published: 11:14 IST(16/1/2014) | Last Updated: 15:01 IST(16/1/2014)

Encouraged by the Aam party methodology to go to the public for every little thing, I also decided to reach out to my friends on Facebook and twitter to have their opinion on, should film actors and singers join politics?

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The topic gains resonance, especially after the BJP inducted into its fold Miss Pooja, a famous Punjabi folk singer, known more for her provocative and double-meaning songs than political work. The grapevine is that she is being considered as the party candidate for the Hoshiarpur constituency.

This also implies that BJP intends to put in fray just pop, screen and sporting personalities on all the three seats that it contests from Punjab, and not people from its own cadre in the upcoming parliamentary elections. Vinod Khanna from Gurdaspur, whose only claim to fame is one bridge, cricketer Navjot Sidhu, who is more known for his presence in TV studios than his constituency, and the latest being Miss Pooja.
http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2014/1/miss-poojalive_compressed.jpg

But hang on; there is more masala on its way. The rumour is that SAD is trying hard to woo a couple of Bollywood personalities, especially for the Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat. The two names that are floating around are of Sunny Deol and Gul Panag, even though I don’t mind the latter.

Now, stop judging me and allow me to share what the Facebook aam aadmi feels about the topic. Bandana Singh, an architect from Chandigarh is of the opinion that a celebrity in politics is nothing but cosmetic. Gurbinder Singh Anand, a businessman from Hoshiarpur almost holds a similar view, but says he is OK with the glamour, as long as they don’t overact.

Sahar Gh, from Toronto, opines that it is better than having criminals as politicians, as most of the celebrities are educated, happy and satisfied people. According to her, celebrities would be more compassionate and not demean themselves just for votes. Another FB friend, Anamjit Singh Sivia makes an interesting remark and says he is OK as long as it is not Miss Pooja.

Exactly so, because that’s where lies the challenge.

I have never met Miss Pooja, nor do I have any personal axe to grind with artists and actors, but the question is what kind of rich political thought will a Pooja or her ilk bring to the table? What does Miss Pooja stand for, other than just being a well-known singer who has a certain amount of oomph?

So, did the BJP consider only her physical appeal, or genuinely think that she will be a great asset to the party? Well, the BJP didn’t think much when it got a Navjot Sidhu or a Vinod Khanna. So, expecting it to apply its mind is asking for a bit too much.

Isn’t it? But, we the people need to question the premise of this new trend, even as the country struggles to find a new political doctrine. If you and I were to go looking for landmark political contributions of a Dharmendra, Sachin Tendulkar, Jaya Prada, Rekha, Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bhaduri, Hema Malini, Hans Raj Hans or a Govinda, we will hit a firewall pronto.

Oh! We almost forgot that some of them did win the seats for their respective parties because of their glamour quotient.

However, this is not to suggest that celebrities should have a life ban on entering politics and all of them are good-for-nothing fellows. For instance, Shabana Azmi has stood up for issues, and I am not at all averse to a Gul Panag entering into politics.

Not that the latter is glamorous, sexy, blah, blah, but because she has consistently used her position to take a stand on crucial and vital issues facing the nation.

For example, it will be disappointing if SAD were to get Sunny Deol as its candidate, since Sunny hardly qualifies to be our MP. Even though he is a star in his own right, the Punjab da puttar banter is very hollow and should remain limited to movies.

There is a fine line between celebs with commitment and those brought to gain media. High time we said no to the fluff being forced down our throat and exhibit our intelligence by not getting misled by charm.

The columnist is a Punjab-based author and consulting editor at a news channel.

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