Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Mar 7:
It was bound to happen. The entry of hordes of film and television stars is giving the jitters to Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leaders who fear that all their hard work would go down the drains if these ‘Johny Come Lately’s are given party tickets to contest in constituencies they have been grooming for ages.
“I have been working for the party in all sincerity for the last 10 years and had every right to expect the BJD ticket from my Assembly constituency. The people also want to see me as their leader. But now there is talk of a film personality being given ticket from my constituency. This is not acceptable either to me or to the party workers. All my efforts are going waste,” lamented a leader.
Noted singer Trupti Das, one of the three from the arts to join the BJD on Friday, did nothing to allay the fears of the BJD ticket aspirants when she said; “Everyone wants to contest elections and so do I.”
That she left, in the best traditions of the ruling party, the final decision on the matter to BJD supremo and chief minister Naveen Patnaik would be small consolation for whoever stands to lose out if Das is given a ticket.
Ollywood star Mihir Das, who joined the BJD along with Das and Satyakai Mishra today, was more diplomatic. “I have not even put my feet firmly on the ground after joining the party. I will cross the bridge when I come to it,” when asked of he would contest the elections.
It is not just the number of film stars who are joining the party, but also the timing that is giving sleepless nights to ticket aspirants in the BJD. All of them have joined the party at a time when the simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and Assembly were barely weeks away.
It all started with reigning Ollywood superstar Anubhav Mohanty joining the ruling party in December last year. He was soon followed by popular comedian Pappu Pam Pam and then the three recruited today.
“If the stars had anything other than tickets in their mind and really wanted to serve the people, they would have joined the party long ago and not on the eve of the elections,” said another ticket aspirant who fears being sidelined.
Far from ensuring victory in the elections, it could cost the party dear because the cadres would not accept somebody imposed from above,” he added.
The youth wing chief of the BJD Sanjay Dasburma, however, finds nothing wrong with the entry of film personalities into the party.”There is nothing wrong in film personalities joining politics. Like us, they are also entitled to serve the people as political representatives. They should be welcomed by political parties with open arms,” said Dasburma.
The two major opposition parties – the Congress and the BJP – have also recruited their share of film and television personalities. But they believe their entry would bolster the poll prospects of the party rather than affect it adversely because they do not have too many candidates who inspire confidence in the electorate.
While the BJP has inducted Sritam Das, Pinki Pradhan and Pintu Nanda, Congress has roped in yesteryear stars Aparajita Mohanty and Bijay Mohanty.
Congress will field the two actors in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar Lok Sabha constituencies respectively, said party sources.