Saturday, January 19, 2008

Govinda to quit politics

India's political parties have typically used the mass star power of famous actors / actresses to get seats, and nothing else. It is only in the Southern states where famous actors / actresses plot to translate their star power into electoral power, but for the rest, getting stars has been nothing but a game to get more votes.
In a major setback for the Congress in Bombay, their MP in the Mumbai North constituency and the film star Govinda has decided to quit politics. When Govinda was brought into the electoral race in the last elections of 2004, there was a large amount of criticism of the Congress for this move, given that Govinda was going through a lean patch in his movies, and he had not shown any inclinations towards political activities before this. No matter, the need was to defeat former minister Ram Naik of the BJP, and that was dutifully done. But now, everything gets reversed.

Actor-MP Govinda's decision to quit politics has shocked Congress activists in his constituency, Mumbai north. "We worked hard for him during his election and now we feel let down," said a senior party worker. Govinda had told TOI on Friday that he wanted to quit politics "like Amitabh Bachchan".
Many Congress workers, however, feel that it was wrong to give a ticket to a political novice like Govinda in the first place. "He had nothing to do with our party, but still our leaders overlooked the claim of loyal workers and gave him the ticket," said a former MLA. A Congress office-bearer said Govinda was fielded only to defeat senior BJP leader and former Union minister Ram Naik. Not only was Naik getting repeatedly elected from Mumbai north, he was also making the constituency BJP's bastion. Congress had virtually no presence. It was only because a popular actor like Govinda was fielded that Congress could wrest the seat from Naik, he said.

Obviously, the next time when the Congress goes to get votes in this constituency, they will have to defend their last MP and the fact that voters in the constituency were severely disgruntled over his performance. Govinda has been seen to be hardly doing anything for the population of his constituency, or doing anything that a MP does.
In addition, when workers and potential candidates see a unknown person suddenly becoming the candidate, then they are disgruntled. It is a different matter if the person has shown the capacity to work hard (like the late Sunil Dutt had done for the Congress). But selecting people just for their charisma is bound to fail in the long run.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 8:18 PM