What makes a large number of film personalities in India to enter politics? Critically examine their contribution to India's democracy.
celebrities and film personalities have been a part of politics since 50s. The constitution under Article 80, provided President with a power to nominate 12 members to the Rajya Sabha. These nominations are to be made on the basis of expertise or practical experience of such matters as literature, science, art and social service. Thus, film personalities find their way to the Parliament on the account of their immense contribution to art. The best example of the Nehru era actor turned politician is Prithviraj Kapoor. He was continuously nominated for Rajya Sabha for a term of eight years. He was seen in close contacts with Pandit Jawarharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister. Other than nominations, certain actors also won elections to enter the parliament. Jayalalitha from the south Indian film industry is the epitome of actor elected as a leader. The majority of the actors victory in elections is because of their popularity among the masses. The actor’s personality is viewed as the role they portrayed. This helped them immensely.
While some actor turned legislators hugely contributed to the politics of the country towards its betterment, some could merely sustain their victory. Major contributions made:
M.G.Ramachandran: This actor is the root cause for the existence of the current ruling party in Tamil Nadu. He founded All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in 1972. He was the Chief Minister of the state for two terms until his death in 1987. He mostly worked on social development programs in Tamil Nadu. Mid-day meal scheme in the state is his pet project during his political career.
J Jayalalitha: Jayalalitha continued the legacy of M.G. Ramachandran. She is the first woman leader of opposition in Tamil Nadu and also the first woman Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in 1991. She served as a Chief Minister for six terms in her 25 years of political stint. She is famous for her freebee politics. Amma canteens which provide subsidised food for the poor is her major contribution to TN.
N.T. Ramarao: Another south Indian actor turned politician who served as a Chief Minister to Andhra Pradesh for 7 years. He founded the Telugu Desam Party in 1982. He initiated the public distribution scheme of Andhra Pradesh- kilo rice for Rs. 2. The scheme which later took the shape of National Food Security Mission.
Smriti Irani: She is a member of Rajya Sabha and is a current Information and Broadcasting and textile minister . She even handled the prestigious Ministry of Human Resource and Development in the current government.
There are other famous actors who contributed to the politics but quit due to various reasons such as, Govinda, Amitabh Bachan, Shabana Azmi, Sunil Dutt, Rajesh Khanna, etc.
While the above mentioned actors contributed to better the conditions of the state as a legislator, there are instances of others like Dharmendra, who had an attendance of 1.5% in Lok Sabha during his entire tenure. Recent examples of such dismal attendance include Rekha and Hema Malini.
Actor turned politicians can become great leaders or can be a mere Member of Parliament. Their popularity among the people makes them a success instantly. The rest is up on them either to connect with the people and be a great leader or to end with a short political career with hardly any contribution.
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