Chitralekha Gujarati issue dated 28 April’14 - English Summary
Watch “Editor’s Audio Note” on YouTube -
Elections: Five High-Profile Women Candidates in Mumbai
So the biggest show of democracy on the planet has begun. From 7 April to 12 May, a whopping 81.45 crore voters will elect their candidates for 543 seats in the Loksabha. It is worth a recall that way back in 1952 when our first Loksabha elections were held, nearly 17.3 crore people had cast their franchise. This means that in a span of 63 years the electorate has multiplied five times. When it comes to women representation, while in the first Loksabha there were 22 women members, in the 13 Loksabha there were 43. In the current elections, compared to their male counterparts, only 7.13 percent women candidates have got tickets.
As for Maharashtra, For 48 Loksabha seats there are only 12 women candidates among a total of 138 candidates. What is most interesting is the fact that for 6 Mumbai seats, there are five women candidates out of whom two are daughters of former politicians, one is an ex banker, one is a social worker and the last one is a film heroine. So it is going to be a very exciting contest. The Chitralekha team (Devanshu Desai, Mona Kanakia & Jahnavi Pal) interviews these women candidates to have a firsthand idea of their strategies and their future plans.
The AAP candidate Medha Patkar is a familiar face whose conviction and strong resolve have impressed the world. A simple and unassuming woman, the well-known activist campaigns tirelessly in her constituency exhorting the voters to vote for her party. Her political slogan is interesting and quite loaded: Baki sab dhoka hai, desh bachavo mauka hai (the rest is all deceit, grab the opportunity to save the country) While defending her delayed entry in politics, she reasserts that it would not be difficult to weed out corruption from the country. ‘People are scared of wrongdoing now’, she gushes. When asked who her chief adversaries were, she promptly says it is inflation and corruption. ‘I am fighting these two monsters to defeat them’, she says confidently. And yes, she is confident that she is going to win. This is what she has entered the fray for.
Meera Sanyal is the only woman candidate fighting elections from South Mumbai. In 2009 elections too, she had contested, as an Independent candidate though. In order to devote full time to politics she left her Royal Bank of Scotland job and joined AAP and was soon appointed to the party’s central committee on economic policy. Negotiating the dense slum colonies of South Mumbai for her campaign, this glamorous lady dons the AAP cap on whoever she meets and makes a request: this is not a chunav (election), but a chunauti (challenge). Vote if you must bring change
this time, she emphasizes. Explaining the reasons for her opting for politics after a successful banking career spanning 3 decades, she lists her priorities and talks knowledgably on how port-related issues pose serious problems here. She is perplexed why Milind Deora-who incidentally is her opponent from Congress) is silent despite being the shipping minster.
She is also concerned about the issues related to women safety. Every year about 3 million women are trafficked in India so we must brace up to stop exploitation of women and create a safe and congenial environment for them.
Priya Dutt, daughter of late Sunil Dutt is another candidate who works away relentlessly for her campaign. Her father had won five times from North-Central area and his daughter repeated the feat twice, which speaks volumes about this woman who has carried forward the huge legacy of her legendary father. She admits quite candidly that people do give you opportunity and when they repose faith in you, it is incumbent on you not to let them down, she explains. She insists on following the footsteps of her father and also maintains a cordial and warm rapport with the people of her constituency like her father.
The remaining two candidates are the BJP candidate Poonam Mahajan, daughter of late Pramod Mahajan and of course the inimitable Rakhi Sawant. To know what these courageous women have to say about their political careers and their strategies, you must pick up the latest issue of Chitralekha. It may be added here that while our politicians never stop talking about women empowerment, here are five candidates who are epitomes of empowerment. They embody the strength, tenacity and conviction of today’s Indian woman.
Paresh Rawal: A Political Act
For the 26 Loksabha seats in Gujarat, there are 334 candidates in the fray. However, the three seats that have generated a great deal of excitement and anticipation are Gandhinagar (L K Advani), Vadodara (Narendra Modi) & Ahmedabad East where noted actor and BJP’s Loksabha candidate Paresh Rawal is contesting. Paresh Rawal who has already kick-started his campaign is pitted against Congress candidate Himmatsing Patel, an ex-mayor who originally hails from Rajasthan. AAP candidate Dinesh Vaghela is engaged in social as well as spiritual works.
In a clear rebuttal to Rahul Gandhi who peremptorily dismissed NaMo as merely an individual, Paresh Rawal said Narendra Modi is no longer an individual but has evolved into a persona that represents the aspirations of the whole nation.
In this candid conversation with Ketan Mistry, the versatile actor explains what it is to take a plunge in the field of politics after a 30-year successful acting career. He is however pretty sure that he would be able to remain active in, and do justice to both politics and acting. Reacting to criticism that he is an ‘import’ from Mumbai, Pareshbhai cites the example of Italian Sonia. Compared to her, he emphasizes, he is from Gujarat and his wife Dr Swaroop Sampat has been doing a commendable job in the field of education in Gujarat. The ace actor feels that the lack of education is one major problem that faces India, but he is sure, it will be effectively addressed by Narendra Modi.
Film Stars: Modi’s New Alliances?
When the celluloid stars descend on earth to meet a political star, the narrative becomes more interesting and exciting. At the rate cine stars are vying to have a meeting with Narendra Modi, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, it looks either Narendra Modi has taken a fancy for them, or the film stars cannot resist the NaMo effect, says Mahesh Shah
The stars list is quite long: Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan, Arabaz Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Ajay Devgun and so on. May be like Paresh Rawal and his wife, these stars too are yearning to get into the good books of NaMo. The latter too however is no less than a celebrity. His latest meeting with Rajnikant has been a talk of the country.
The accompanying box reveals how and why actors get pulled into the world of politics.
Gujarat Elections Sans Modi
Ketan Trivedi in this analytical piece says that BJP’s strategy in nominating NaMo from Vadodara constituency may be aimed at deflating Congress hold in Central Gujarat. However, while BJP workers sweat it out in the scorching heat, NaMo’s absence, attributed to his preoccupations with campaigns in rest of the country has robbed the Gujarat campaign of much of its sheen and excitement.
Apart from the above, the issue also carries regular Political & Humour columns, Palak, Cardiogram, Priyadarshini, novel’s new chapter, Health helpline, Jalsaghar and Mukhwas
‘Word is not essential. Silent prayer is the best communication with God’-Swami Vivekanand