It was to be expected. The response to the landslide victory of the BJP at the national elections by Bollywood personalities has been upbeat.
Anupam Kher said he was passing by Delhi’s Red Fort and felt elated. Madhur Bhandarkar announced his joy. Either through tweets, press statements or TV bytes, Bollywood was more than gung-ho. Shah Rukh Khan tweeted that “change is the only constant” and Farhan Akhtar hoped for an improved governance for the next five years. This was the running refrain.
About the only somewhat different reaction came from music composer Vishal Dadlani who said he would continue to support the Aam Aadmi Party.
Overall, all those who had affiliated themselves, either as candidates at the election or had given their tacit moral support to the BJP, have cause to pop the bubbly.
This blog, of course, does not probe into the political grid, as such, but at this very moment, it has to be reported that several of our B-town leading lights are wearing shining smiles.
It may be recalled that Amitabh Bachchan had faced criticism from some quarters when he became the official ambassador of Gujarat. It was also wondered why Ajay Devgn chose to visit the BJP leader Narendra Modi. Or why Lata Mangeshkar had expressed her faith in the leader. And then Salman Khan, close to the release of Jai Ho, made news by flying kites along with Narendra Modi. Unaffected by the criticism from some quarters, Salman’s father Salim Khan also didn’t mind being associated with the BJP.
Hema Malini, Kirron Kher, Vinod Khanna and Bappi Lahiri were among some of the prominent film personalities who contested the elections on BJP tickets.
Earlier when the BJP was in power from 1998 to 2004, one of its most high-profile names was none other than Shatrughan Sinha, who continues to be a significant name from his hometown, Patna, in the party’s hierarchy. Reportedly, he has been miffed with the party occasionally, but has never ever altered his ideology and conviction in the BJP.
At this election, the Congress in fact, seemed to be very thin on Bollywood support.
There was a time when Shah Rukh Khan was considered to be on close terms with Sonia Gandhi, and Rahul Gandhi had even flown in to attend one of his celebratory events in Kolkata for his IPL team. But SRK has never come to the political forefront. He has never participated in election rallies or issued statements, in favour of Congress or for that matter any party.
According to some, the closeness to the Gandhi family, had thinned in recent times. Reason unknown.
Congress MP Rajiv Shukla, it is believed, had access to Shah Rukh Khan but could not convince to go political as such. Much like Amar Singh, formerly of Samajwadi Party, Shukla did have easy access to stars and superstars. It is believed that he persuaded Rekha – who has never uttered a political word in her life – to agree to become a Rajya Sabha MP. Followed news items and photos of Rekha and Rajya Sabha MP Jaya Bachchan, keeping a studious distance from each other at Parliament sessions. Shukla roped in Ameesha Patel for election campaigneering this time, but to little effect evidenced from the results.
The involvement and ideologies of Bollywood stats could surely make for a very absorbing research study or a fact-based book. As soon as India gained independence, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru became an icon for the film industry. Stalwarts Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Nargis and Sunil Dutt ceaselessly expressed their admiration for Pandit Nehru. To date, Sunil Dutt’s daughter Priya Dutt remains deeply connected to the Congress party.
It was during the emergency years (from 25 June 1975 to 21 March 1977) imposed by Indira Gandhi that there discontent was vociferously articulated against the Congress, most openly by Dev Anand. He was a prime mover in protest rallies.
Over time, Shabana Azmi has protested for the dishoused have-nots and was part of a candle march in Delhi, sparked by the 1992-’93 communal riots in Mumbai. An activist, she has campaigned tirelessly for social justice, although she seems to have kept a low profile of late. Javed Akhtar has bravely never minced his words on various issues. The ubiquitous Mahesh Bhatt has travelled to trouble spots in an effort to remedy injustice.
It is a fringe minority of showbiz people in Mumbai who can be described as dramatis personae in politics. The younger stars don’t seem to have political ambitions and have steered clear of campaigning for any one particular party. But who knows? Tomorrow the fresh brigade of Siddharth Malhotra, Varun Dhawan, Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor could be bitten by the political bug. After all, the political scene is always capable of springing surprises.
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Next 100 Days
Dear Narendrabhai ,
You have talked your way to power – calling yourself , ” Mazdoor # 1 ”
Now , it is time to ” Walk the Talk ”
People of India have taught a lesson to the party which called you ,
” Merchant of Death ( Maut Ka Saudaagar ) ”
They believe you to be ” Merchant of Dreams ( Sapno Ka Saudaagar ) ”
Of course , no one expects any miracle to happen on the ground , in the next 100 days
But the decisions that your Cabinet takes – and transparently communicates to the people – in the next 100 days , will tell them , whether your Government is any different than UPA-2
Here are the decisions that people expect :
A … FIGHTING CORRUPTION
* Appoint Central Lok Pal
* Appoint ( where missing ) , Lok Ayuktas in BJP controlled States
* Appoint Special Fast-Track Courts to try within 1 year , criminally-
charged MPs / MLAs / Bureaucrats / Politicians / Businessmen
B… BLACK MONEY TO WHITE MONEY
* Introduce Amnesty Scheme , for monies invested in Infrastructure SPVs
* Amend Personal Income Tax to Inverse Taxation Regime , where the
incremental tax rates keep going DOWN in each higher slab
* De-monetize Rs 1000 currency notes
C… JOB GENERATION
* Amend Corporate Tax Regime , with incrementally reducing tax-rates
for Companies with higher employee-strength
* Introduce ” Accelerated Depreciation ” for investment in Capital Assets.
Capital Goods industry is the Mother of all industries
* Focus on creating ” Self-Employment ” thru tax-breaks for self-employed
* Low interest loans for self – employed
D… DEVELOPMENT OF NORTH-EAST STATES
* Industrialists / businessmen will not come forward to make huge
investments in North-East , in absence of excellent infrastructure of
roads / rails etc
All private investments made here must be tax-free for 25 years
E… SIMPLIFY LABOUR LAWS
* Today’s labour laws make it extremely difficult – if not impossible – for employers to layoff / retrench workmen , if demand shrinks
* Employers are unlikely to hire thousands of youth , if they cannot easily trim the workforce , to match the shrinking demand
* So , an important corollary of any Job Generation Scheme is to modify our existing Labour Laws to facilitate layoff / retrenchment , when situation so demands , while protecting the interests of the workmen concerned
F… EDUCATION / UNIVERSAL LITERACY
* What is responsible for keeping 28.7 Crores of Indians illiterate ( 37 % of World’s illiterate ) , 66 years after independence ?
* Ans : Lack of educational infrastructure consisting of Schools / Colleges /
Equipments / Qualified Teachers .. etc
* Solution ?
Push for E-education thru online delivery of subject-matter thru tablets
G … GOOD GOVERNANCE
Ask each concerned Minister , to publish within 100 days, on Ministry’s web site , PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION PLANS , for the following :
* Food Security Bill
* Connecting 2.5 lakh panchayats thru broadband
* Aakash Tablets for 220 million students
* Delivery of Services Act
* Aadhar Identification Card
* Electoral Reforms / Right to Recall
* CAG audit of Private Companies using Government resources
* 4G Wireless Internet all over India
* Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor
* Amritsar-Delhi-Kolkata Industrial Corridor
* Natural Resources Allocation Policy
* Political Party’s Funds under RTI scrutiny
* Liberalization in FDI ( Entire economy – not just retail )
* Government funding of Elections
* Interlinking of Major Rivers
* ” India Post Bank ” with 139,040 branches in Rural areas
* Bank A/C for every adult by 2016
* Divestment / Closure of loss-making / bleeding PSUs
* Imparting skills to 500 million youth ( NSDC )
* Sulabh Sauchalaya ( Remember “Sauchalay before Devalaya ” ? )
Dear Narendrabhai ,
Do provide a ROAD-MAP ( with clearly defined mile-stones ) of how you intend to translate your DREAMS into REALITY
with regards ,
hemen parekh ( 17 May 2014 / Mumbai )
woah…some picture that one…with Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand and Dilip Kumar with Nehru! 🙂