New Delhi, Apr 7 : Come elections and the glamour game of celluloid power is back in action.
The silver screen charm seems to have once again faded popularity of heavyweight politicians.
Political parties are adding glamour in their candidates’ lists so that they can encash their huge fan following among the masses into the party’s victory.
There is a long list of celebrities who are trying their luck in the electoral battle field.
The BJP that had swept the 2014 general election riding on the Narendra Modi wave, has so many cine stars in its fold whereas Congress is taking advantage of new entrant Bollywood divas against veterans. At the same time, Trinamool Congress has fielded a number of Tollywood actors, in place of its sitting lawmakers.
The list starts with Bollywood diva and incumbent Mathura MP Hema Malini. The yesteryear 'Dream Girl'-turned-politician had first time entered into electoral scene when she had campaigned for her colleague and friend Late Vinod Khanna in 1999.
Later in 2003, she became a nominated Rajya Sabha member. The ‘Dream Girl’ for the first time contested general elections in 2014 on a BJP ticket in which she had defeated RLD national vice-president Jayant Chaudhary. She is yet gain pitted from Mathura constituency by the saffron party.
Another Bollywood actor-turned politician Raj Babbar is a big name in the Congress. He is president of UP state unit Congress. Before joining the grand old party, the actor was expelled from the Samajwadi Party.
In 2008, he defeated Dimple Yadav, the wife of Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav. However, he lost to Gen V K Singh (Retd) from Ghaziabad seat in the 2014 polls by a huge margin of over five lakhs. Mr Babbar is now Congress candidate from Fatehpur Sikri in UP.
It is worth mentioning that Mr Babbar in 1989 elections was one of the principal campaigners against Rajiv Gandhi government over Bofors controversy. Incidentally, his fellow compatriot from Bollywood Shatrughan Sinha, who also campaigned aggressively against Rajiv Gandhi during that period has now come into the Congress fold.
'Shotgun' Shatrughan Sinha will now be seeking re-election from Patna Sahib in Bihar on Congress ticket. Pitted against him is BJP's vocal leader and Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
The Bhojpuri singer-actor Manoj Tiwari has always been in headlines. In 2014, he had defeated AAP's candidate Anand Kumar with a margin of 1,44,084 votes.
Mr Tiwari was later elevated to the post of Delhi BJP president. Prior to joining the BJP, he had contested elections on the Samajwadi Party ticket from Gorakhpur constituency. He was defeated by the BJP strongman Yogi Adityanath.
Another celebrity from Bhojpuri entertainment world Dinesh Lal Yadav ‘Nirahua' has been pitted by BJP against Samajwadi chief Akhilesh Yadav from a traditionally known socialist bastion Azamgarh.
It is interesting to know that the Samajwadi Party government has earlier crowned ‘Nirahua’ with the Yash Bharti award.
BJP leader and union minister Babul Supriyo is another face from Bollywood. The playback singer-turned-politician is locked in a fierce battle against actor-politician Moon Moon Sen from Asanol constituency in West Bengal.
In 2014, Mr Supriyo had defeated Dola Sen, a confidante of Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee. BJP leaders say it only talks about Mr Suprioyo's popularity that Ms Mamata Banerjee has been forced to bring in yesteryear heartthrob actress Moon Moon Sen from Asanol seat.
Ms Sen is a Trinamool MP from Bankura and in 2014 had defeated CPI(M) veteran Basudeb Acharia.
Actor-activist Prakash Raj had on January 1 announced that he would contest the 2019 elections from Bengaluru Central as an Independent candidate. The actor has been in limelight for his statement against the Narendra Modi government.
He was a very dear friend of Kannada journalist Gauri Lankesh, who was allegedly murdered by Right-wing members.
Recently, former cine star Jaya Prada switched over to the BJP ending her association with Samajwadi Party. She will contest the election from Rampur in UP against SP’s Muslim face Azam Khan. The rivalry has been bitter even in the past.
At one point, Jaya Prada was called 'Nachne wali' by Azam Khan and in response, Jaya Prada had compared him to 'Alauddin Khilji' from the movie 'Padmaavat'.
The Congress party facing a stiff battle in Maharashtra this time could win over Bollywood actress Urmila Matondkar. She will take on BJP's sitting member Gopal Shetty from the Mumbai North Lok Sabha constituency.
In the east, Trinamool Congress has roped in a host of popular Bengali film stars to add “celebrity masala” flavor in her party. Ms Banerjee did not even offer tickets to its 10 sitting MPs. Besides, Moon Moon Sen, Ms Banerjee has pitted young Tollywood actors such as Nusurat Jahan, Mimi Chakraborty and superstar Dev.
An actress-cum-model Nusrat Jahan will contest the elections for the first time from Basirhat seat.
She has a huge fan following and that was the reason it is said she has been given a tough seat. Ms Jahan has given successful movies such as “Crisscross”, “Bolo Durgga Maiki”, “Kelor Kirti”, “Har Har Byomkesh” and “Jamai 420”.
Another glamorous face in Trinamool squad is Mimi Chakraborty, who is also making her political debut in this election. She is fighting from Jadavpur – a posh constituency in south Kolkata.
The highest-paid Bengali actor Dev is not new to the politics. He has won the 2014 polls from Ghatal constituency against veteran CPI leader Santosh Rana. He gave his first speech in Lok Sabha on the Ghatal master plan after two years of winning the seat.
Filmstars from Malayalam cinema are also not far away from politics. They have also made their own space in politics and won the elections from their huge popularity.
Incumbent Rajya Sabha MP Suresh Gopi was nominated by the President in the category of eminent citizens in 2016. This year, he has joined the BJP officially and will now contest the elections from Thrissur constituency against Congress sitting MLA T N Prathapan and Rajaji Mathew Thomas of the CPI.
Second actor from Kerala cinema is Innocent Vareed Thekkethala –popularly known as 'Innocent'. He is a sitting Lok Sabha MP from Chalakkudi seat. He had won the 2014 election as an Independent candidate supported by the UDF.
He had defeated Congress veteran P C Chacko. However, this time he is fighting on a CPI(M) ticket.
Nikhil Gowda has everything in his kitty - the celebrity power and also is a kin of a powerful neta. He is a Kannada actor and is also son of Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy and grandson of former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda.
This time Nikhil Gowda is making debut in politics from JD(S) bastion Mandya constituency. He will take on another celebrity and Independent candidate Sumalatha Ambareesh.
Besides them, there are also an array of celebrities who are joining political parties. However, it is not clear whether they will fight or not. The television serial 'Bhabhi Ji Ghar Par Hai' famed Shilpa Shinde had joined the Congress but her fighting elections is not clear.
Cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir has also joined BJP. The news is doing the rounds that he may be fielded from New Delhi. (UNI)