Are celebrity MPs hurting Indian politics?

PTI6_4_2016_000135A Mathura, BJP MP & Bollywood Actress Hema Malini arives family members of SP city Mukul Dwivedi who died in a clash with encroachers, in Mathura on Saturday | PTI Photo

Actress-turned-politician Hema Malini infuriated web users last week after she tweeted about her upcoming film, while her Lok Sabha constituency, Mathura in Uttar Pradesh, was witnessing large-scale violence.

At least 29 people were killed, including a SP and an SHO, properties were damaged and normal life affected.

While Mathura was in chaos, Hema Malini was away in Mumbai's Madh Island shooting for a film. Her tweets about her film and photos from the sets drew the ire of people for obvious reasons.

How did she fail to learn about such an incident from her constituency? How can she be so indifferent to the sufferings of the people, who voted her to power?

To be fair to Hema Malini, I think she is not cut out for the job.

Politics and films go hand in hand in the country. We have allowed celebrities to take over powerful public offices and govern us for decades now.

We swoon over our movie stars and their onscreen lives: they are good looking, righteous, fight for the betterment of poor and underprivileged, fight against corruption and protect women and children.

Celebrities play our ideal politicians and leaders onscreen. And when they throw in their hats for public offices, we vote them to power with little or no contemplation.

Time and again, we have seen how great celebrities make poor politicians. Amitabh Bachchan, Govinda, Rekha, and Hema Malini, they have all had a very successful film career but their performance at public offices were disappointing to say the least.

Most of them see winning a public office is just as an another medal to their already decorated public life. At least it seems so.

The core problem is many of these celebrity politicians, do not take their job seriously. They do not possess the required political will or knowledge or experience of serving at a public office. Their one and only qualification to become a legislator is their celebrity status.

The seasoned political parties, meanwhile, use celebrities to win elections.

Once elected they forget about their duties and problems of their constituents. They become off limits to their voters as they engage the commitments from their star life.

Hema Malini is a case in point. Her star power overshadowed the best judgements of voters. It was not the merit of her agenda, but her popularity that defined the electoral outcome.

The other batch of celebrity MPs in Rajya Sabha is a different problem all together. The celebrity MPs, who are nominated to the Upper House by the government, have no real experience in dealing with public problems. They are very unlikely to understand and find solutions to problems at the grass-root level from the height of their stardom.

Hema Malini has won over millions of hearts, done several movies and her illustrious profile as an actor stands testament to her onscreen talents. But as a politician, she has come up short. Her constant absenteeism in Parliament shows a clear lack of seriousness in discharging her duties.

Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, who commands an impressive record for his performance on the field, rarely attends the parliament sessions in the Upper House. Last year, a report suggested that he just had 3 percent attendance.

As voters, it is our responsibility to elect leaders based on the merits of their agenda, their political will to bring about a change that they promise during campaigns. Assuming they would replicate their star performance from their respective fields as politicians and voting them to power is wrong. And repeating that over and over is akin to a crime that goes against the basic idea of democracy.

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Topics : #Hema Malini

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