Millennium Post

A star contest

"Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown." This immortal expression of William Shakespeare holds immense importance in today's political scenario as celebrity candidates are being air-dropped by respective parties to cash in on their fame and popularity. But can such celebrity candidates make an impact in their new career? There are a few challenges. Firstly, it is important for them to live up to the expectations of their respective political parties; secondly, they need to maintain their own fan base. From 'Rangeela's Urmila Matondkar to the 'dhai kilo ka haath' of actor Sunny Deol, the list is pretty long and exceptional. For BJP, the party is eyeing seats which they have not won before. And for that, they have a star-studded line-up of Bollywood actors, Padma awardees, sports personalities, entrepreneurs, businessmen and other celebrities. Congress too has joined the practice of projecting high-profile candidates from other professional backgrounds. Matondkar took a surpris entry along with Shilpa Shinde of Big Boss fame. Amitabh Bachchan has had a close association with the party but his political career was short-lived. Congress has also given tickets to actor Govinda and former Indian cricket captain Mohammad Azharuddin and both won. Such personalities are well-known and their popularity enables the party to garner the support of more and more people; gain recognition and trust which ultimately translates into exercising one's franchise in favour of that party. However, in this hysteria, one must remember that though these celebrities draw huge support, very few among them actually go on to become successful politicians. For example, Amitabh Bachchan's entry into politics that was more due to his proximity with the Gandhi family was marred by a number of controversies. In her political journey, Jaya Prada switched parties, faced suspension and had a roller-coaster ride. Hema Malini, who is contesting from Mathura, has been subjected to severe criticism. Fighting from Mumbai-North, Urmila Matondkar also became a subject of social media trolling. Sunny Deol is the third person from his family after his father Dharmendra and stepmother, Hema Malini, to join the saffron party. Bengali screen goddess Suchitra Sen's daughter Moon Moon is a TMC candidate from Asansol. New celebrity entrants for the Trinamool include Mimi Chakraborty and Nusrat Jahan. Political pundits opine that it is a long-standing association between the two professions. It seems to be more predominant in the southern states where film stars have become regional superpowers. Celebrities joining politics is very common. From Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Murphy, Ben Jones, Glenda Jackson who held the highest constitutional posts in USA, to more recently, 41-year-old Volodymyr Zelenskiy winning Ukraine's presidential polls, the list goes on. Let the legacy of cine stars joining the political bandwagon set by veteran actor and poet Harindranath Chattopadhyay, who was elected to the first Lok Sabha in 1952, live on.

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