But by looking at the celebrities to create a new 'political' class out of them, aren't we committing even a bigger blunder? Corrupt candidates are bad but celeb candidates are worse and the way various political parties are fielding stars as candidates in the election to the 16th Lok Sabha, one is afraid that it will lead to formation of a crippled Lower House. Can the country, already plagued by a decade of poor governance, afford this?
Why India should not welcome celebrities as members of the Lok Sabha
The Lok Sabha can't be allowed to become another Rajya Sabha for it is the powerhouse of our functioning. Filmstars and sportstars who contest the national elections mostly do so to find a new avenue to extend their dying careers but the country's future can't be sacrificed for such selfish interests. This is no less serious than allowing tainted politicians to hold membership of the parliament.
Celebrity MPs mostly have little knowledge about the country and its way of functioning. The Sidhus, Azharuddins, Sachin Tendulkars, Rekhas and Tapas Pauls (Bengali actor) have done little notable as MPs and it is often said that they have little time or plan for their respective constituencies. This year, we have Nagma, Bhaichung Bhutia, Mohammad Kaif, magician PC Sorcar, Moon Moon Sen, Gul Panag and lots of others as candidates for the general election. One would expect that they defeat the vested interests and bring a fresh air into the Parliament. But what political credibility do they have to offer to the country? Almost zero.
Bansal is accused but is Panag or Kirron Kher any alternative?
Take the Chandigarh seat for example. The long-time sitting MP from this seat, Pawan Kumar Bansal, has been accused of corruption last year and given the strong anti-incumbency mood prevailing in the country today, one would believe that Bansal has a tough ask this time. But when his opponents include the likes of Gul Panag (AAP) and Kirron Kher (BJP), then Bansal's supporters wouldn't feel too bad. For one, the votes against Bansal would stand divided and secondly, corruption can't be replaced by entertainment and inexperience. The first at least has a political character and can be dealt with politically. But Panag and Kher? Very few people know what they represent apart from films.
Celebrity candidates from distant centres a joke
Celebrity candidates from urban centres still make a sense but fielding them from distant rural centres is a joke. Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress has fielded celebrities like Dev, Moon Moon Sen, Sandhya Roy, Bhaichung Bhutia and a couple of singers from distant constituencies (its celeb candidature percentage is over 26). How far can they deliver to the people of those places and represent them at the parliament? They neither know the politics nor the people fully. If these celebrities make it to the Lok Sabha this year, we expect to see worse days in the history of the Indian democracy in the future.
The celebrities will only make the Centre weaker
The Centre will turn weaker with such representatives crowding in the Lok Sabha and the country will be left without a stable political leadership. At the time of any national emergency, the consequence will be telling. How many of these celebrities will be able to think out a solution as an MP if there is a riot in Assam, caste conflict in Uttar Pradesh or the FDI question throws a bigger challenge?
We have run out of genuine leaders and trying to fill the vacuum with the stars
But why is there a sudden rise in the number of celebrity candidates? The main reason is that we have run out of genuine leaders in our political and socio-economic life. Earlier, celebrity candidates were an exception but now they are becoming the norm and threaten to put the functioning of the Indian State in jeopardy. The arrival of over-ambitious parties like the AAP has encouraged this behaviour more for it has tried to compensate its organisational weakness with the star factor.
India can't be run with make-up boxes and idealessness
If we are worried with our tarnished politics, we should also treat its undervaluation with caution. This country can't be run with make-up boxes and idealessness while its pressing challenges can only be dealt with political solution. This is where elections are important and have served the nation for 62 years. If we turn the polls into a silly entertainment, we will do so at our own peril.