Editorial: Govinda, Govinda — The Star Brigade Is Back

Editorial: Govinda, Govinda — The Star Brigade Is Back

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Friday, March 29, 2024, 07:56 PM IST
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Govinda (left) with Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde | X/ANI

Come election season and the brigade of film stars donning political colours begins, on cue. The latest entry into politics, rather re-entry, is of Govinda or Govind Ahuja, arguably the most bankable Bollywood star through the 1990-2000s. He joined the Shiv Sena led by Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde after a 14-year hiatus from politics – he was the MP from Mumbai North 2004-09 after defeating BJP stalwart Ram Naik – which he called “my 14-year vanvas”. Ahuja and Shinde fought shy of committing to an electoral contest but it is likely that the former will fight from a Mumbai seat. Voters should remember that, as MP, he was not available to his constituents for most of the time, did not raise questions in the Parliament, and carried himself more as a film star than an elected representative.

Ahuja is not the first star in this election. Bollywood's ‘queen’ of controversies Kangana Ranaut is a BJP candidate from Mandi while Bhojpuri actor-singers and television stars have been nominated from different constituencies. ‘Dream Girl’ Hema Malini, elected as BJP MP from Mathura, is in the fray too besides others. Previous elections have seen stars flock to the then dominant party, the Congress, seeking to transfer their star power into votes for political power. Urmila Matondkar and Nagma contested as party’s candidates. Back in 1984, Amitabh Bachchan had won the general election from the then Allahabad. South India has seen mega stars like MG Ramachandran and J Jayalalitha in Tamil Nadu and NT Rama Rao in the undivided Andhra Pradesh become chief ministers.

A few like MGR, JJ and NTR or the late Sunil Dutt (Congress) managed to make the transition with a mix of commitment and dedication while leveraging their star power, but most stars merely provide the oomph factor to a party they choose – the dressing in the window – or parrot the party line. India’s elections need committed elected representatives, not glamour stars.

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