The Kingdom of Bollywoodis actively involved in almost everything like social work, fashion shows, product launches, restaurants or spas and above all politics. Coming to politics, some of the stars may be great achievers in their respective fields, but were singularly unimpressive as members of India’s two houses of parliament. Based on the statistics of Social Watch India, we take you through some of the great names who were conspicuous by their absence.
The beautiful yesteryear actress Hema Malini became a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2004. She was soon elected to the Rajya Sabha on BJP ticket. The actress-dancer fared better compared to others, with 10 percent attendance. She asked 179 questions and participated in the upper house debates 15 times, but her questions formed only 0.78 percent of totally raised.
Next in our list is famous Actor Govinda, who joined the Congress party in 2004. Govinda was elected to the Lok Sabha from Mumbai with a thumping majority, beating the five time sitting MP by over 50000 votes. In the run up to the polls, Govinda had announced that his agenda was prawaas (transportation), swasthya (health) and gyaan (education). The Bollywood star Govinda did not even once attend the house proceedings during his MP stint, leave alone raising questions on these issues.
Dharmendra was elected as a Member of the Parliament (MP) in the 2004 general elections, from Bikaner in Rajasthan, on a BJP ticket. Dharmendra rarely attended the Parliament when the house was in session, preferring to spend the time shooting movies and doing farm-work at his farm house. He also did not participate in any debates or raise any queries. Along with actor Govinda, Dharmendra has been criticized for ignoring his duties as a MP.
In 1997, Vinod Khanna joined the BJP and in the 1998 general elections was elected from Gurdaspur constituency in Punjab. In 1999, he was re-elected to the Lok Sabha from the same constituency. He became the union minister for culture and tourism in July 2002. Vinod Khanna has essayed a variety of Bollywood roles with style, but had just four questions to ask the government, and spoke only twice in the discussions, while his average attendance was 5.5 percent during his tenure as a MP.
5. Jaya Prada
Samajwadi Party‘s Lok Sabha MP Jaya Prada was initiated into the Telugu Desam Party by her former co-star N.T.Rama Rao in 1994. She later broke away from him and joined the Chandrababu Naidu faction of the party. She was nominated to the Rajya Sabha representing Andhra Pradesh in 1996.Following differences with party Supremo N. Chandrababu Naidu, she left TDP to join Samajwadi Party and contested from Rampur parliamentary Constituency in UP, during the 2004 general elections. In her campaign for the Lok Sabha elections, she was issued a notice by the Election Commission for violating the code of conduct by distributing bindis to women in Rampur’s Swar locality. Throughout her political career Jaya Prada rarely attended the parliament and asked only 178 questions.
Jaya Bachchan was elected as a Samajwadi Party MP, representing the Rajya Sabha in 2009. Although being quite active in the parliamentary debates, Jaya Bachchan’s lack of attendance in the Rajya Sabha meetings has indicated her least interest towards politics. The yesteryear diva has raised only 159 questions in the house.
Eminent filmmaker Shyam Benegal, another Rajya Sabha member whose films have essayed contemporary social issues with great intensity, had no question to ask the government and only spoke twice in the debates of the house.
Former cricketer and BJP’s Amritsar MP Navjot Sidhu may have impressed everyone with his banter and smart repartee, but as an MP the cricketer gets thumbs down as he remained uncharacteristically quiet during Lok Sabha debates. He asked only 0.38 percent of the questions and attended the house only six percent of the time.