The BJP’s decision to nominate the former dancer-actor Hema Malini as the party’s nominee for the Rajya Sabha polls from Karnataka is now a fait accompli. In itself, appointing an “outsider” is neither unprecedented, unconstitutional nor unwelcome. Parties and politicians have their own requirements (seemingly political, but usually financial) and there are other institutional and individual dynamics at play.
The lawyer Ram Jethmalani has represented the Janata Dal, Shiv Sena and BJP from three different States, because his legal eye was required by parties and personalities in them. Moneybags like the stud farm owner M.A. M. Ramaswamy and the mobile phone operator turned media baron Rajeev Chandrasekhar get in because, well, they can afford to. The Kannadiga owner of Garuda mall (Uday Garudachar) tried Bihar but failed.
Another reason is that many politicians stand no hope in hell of being elected given the role cash, caste, community and other imponderables play in our politics. Prime minister Manmohan Singh represents Assam because South Delhi, a prime beneficiary of his reforms, didn’t think the great reformer was worthy of their vote. The Kannadiga Jairam Ramesh represents Andhra Pradesh; Venkaiah Naidu, a Telugu, represents Karnataka.
However, Hema Malini’s candidature doesn’t sit so easily in such silos. Au contraire, it raises some fundamental questions about the kind of candidates parties push through the back door; about the track record of candidates and their ability or lack thereof to shoulder the expectations of the people they represent; about how the hands of legislators are tied by the whip in what is supposed to be a democratic setup. Etcetera.
For starters, is a rich dancer-actor, who has previously represented the party in the RS, the only “artiste” the BJP could think of for the State? The playwright Girish Karnad says the ‘Dream Girl‘ hadn’t asked a single question in her earlier term. Words like “dud, daddi, buddi illa, inefficient” have been freely used by Kannada “buddhijeevis” to describe the BJP candidate. Plus there are murmurs that her candidature doesn’t have the backing of all BJP legislators and that has she been imposed on them to quell the dissidence.
To be sure, Karnataka has been through this debate before, when businessman Rajeev Chandrasekhar was pitted against the literatteur U.R. Anantha Murthy. Then, too, similar questions had flowed forth. But it tells us something about the worldview of Basanti of Sholay when she promises to take special interest to develop Ramanagaram. Was the BJP incapable of finding a writer, dancer, intellectual who could earn the legislators’ vote other than Ayesha Bi?
It’s easy to blame our woes our legislators, the party whip, and the system, for these infirmities.
Here’s a straightforward, counterfactual question: If you could take part in a Rajya Sabha election, if you weren’t bound by the party whip, would you vote for an outsider, “dud, daddi, buddi illa, inefficient” celebrity like Hema Malini, party affiliation notwithstanding? Or would you back a home-grown intellectual, a drama and theatre expert with his ear to the ground like Dr K. Maralusiddappa, party affiliation notwithstanding?
Intellectuals!! What good are they to society. These commies and their ideology ruined this country for so many years. Enough of these good for nothing pseudo-intellectuals. Karnad and Ananthamurthy got their Jnanapeeth by using their contacts and courtesy their ideology and now they are obligated to support the anti-BJP front. What have these guys done for the state? Karnad did not even bother to turn up for the Sahiya Sammelana.
Agreed that Hema Malini is a daddi, but what have other Kannadiga MPs done for the state. Pray tell me, what has mannina maga done in Parliament? The reality is none of the MPs do anything, so converting it into a language issue is pure stupidity.
Irrespective of what Karnad may say and want, Dreamgirl will win the election and go to Parliament and Karnad and his intellectuals can sit on MG Road and protest.
Sir by mentioning the caveats in the end “if you were not bound by party whips…” etc. you have acknowledged that this is not truly an election based truly on the merits of the candidates (One might ask ‘which election in India is?’ but here it won’t even be a formal consideration) and the votes have already been decided.
However the whole issue of outsiders occupying state Rajya Sabha seats is an important one be it Rajeev Chandrashekar, Venkaiah Naidu or Manmohan Singh. In a federal system (or a quasi federal system like India) the purpose of a council of states (Rajya Sabha in India, Senate in US etc.) is more than that of the upper house in unitary systems (eg. House of Lords in UK). Here the members of the council of states are expected to ensure that the interests of the states are protected. This is not served very well if random people are elected to Rajya Sabha from the state rather than someone who is always working in the interests of the state. Of course these people may say that they are working for Karnataka. The test is ‘will they work in the interest of Karnataka even if it means working against the interest of Tamil Nadu (Where Hema Malini comes from) or Rajasthan, MP, Delhi, Maharashtra or indeed all of India.’
Even the voice which seeks to protect the interests of one constituent state over the interests of the Union should have a place at the center. The Rajya Sabha is a place where the state can have such a voice. We are throwing it away by electing people from outside the state.
Marulasiddappas candidature is not a bonafide one. Had the Congress and the JDS had enough numbers, would they have put up Mr Marulasiddapppa? Defintely not. When Devegowda had chance, he preferred Tamilnadus MAM Ramaswamy, to any of the homegrown intellectuals?
All the parties are guilty of accommodating the outsiders against the Karnataka quota.
I often wonder what has gone wrong with the intellectuals. Why should they agree to become sacrificial goats in the altar of politics, when they fully know that they cannot succeed? Perhaps the lure of politics makes them lose senses.
The intellectuals who have begun to see the virtues in the candidature putby the Congress and JDS appear to suffer from loss of memory about the serious acts of omission and commission committed by the these two parties. They are also hypocrites in a way and want to play to the galleries.
A humble party worker of Hema Malini’s media presence and fat purse comes in handy during elections which are around the corner. I still remember how the people of UP where she was giving an election speech (their favorite Basanti, of course) clapped and rejoiced not because of what she was saying but when she put her hair behind in a filmy style gyrating her neck…
Another factor worth considering is her equally powerful star husband who garners votes in the Jath belt of Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana where people again whistle for his stupid gimmicks, not to mention the equally (all three combined) popular sons could add to BJP’s star campaign. (I am not talking about what value Hema Malini’s daughter can bring in because they are non-entities in the belts where actors’ charms work)
Denying RS seat to such a popular family would be a bad deal for BJP for its campaign as no humble party worker would want to work when they are not part of LS/RS either.
So, BJP in Karnataka is very much for Kannada cause just as much it is for Marathi cause in Maharashtra or any other language in any other state. When it comes to drowning, even a monkey puts down its babies and stands on them so how can you not expect a party of intellectuals do any differently at the cost of their own self?
Since when has BJP known to attract intellectuals?
My most effusive tributes to the passing away of Anant Pai, the Indian genous and Karkala-born creator of
Amar Chitra Katha (ACK) and Tinkle.
The true INDIAN (among the few) who gave life to such immortal characters!
sad to note the rss led BPJ scams (PROVEN YET COMPLETELY shocking to all RSS caders!) and absolute corruption.
Meanwhile, we will catch those who effect our oil fields
allegiance to the BJP and a better actor.
One lament is the lack of any intellectual depth in all political parties. In fact the poitical process seems to attract only the lumpen and sycophantic elements and not even the minimally intelligent.
The academic credentials of P Chidambaram, the amiable wit of Jaswanth Singh and the street smartness of Sitaram Yechuri not withstanding there is not even one intelligent and well informed politician of standing. I dare the BJP cronies and the Congress acolytes to prove my theory wrong. In fact I would be grateful if they can prove me wrong.
In the first place, why not Tara instead of Hema Malini? She is a Kannadathi, has
Sab chalta hai.
One thing the ‘buddujeevis’ should know; she wouldn’t be there where she is, if she were a Daddi…
i would rather vote for hema malini than a pseudosecular misguiding intellectual — marulsiddappa
The question to whether outsider can contest RS seat from KA as per the constitution ?
Yes, they can.
But, Is it ethical ?
A big No.
Let me quote the very reason why Rajya sabhe ( yes, not Rashtra sabhe) was founded. I picked from their website.
“Extensive debate took place in the Constituent Assembly regarding the utility or otherwise of a Second Chamber in Independent India and ultimately, it was decided to have a bicameral legislature for independent India mainly because a federal system was considered to be most feasible form of Government for such a vast country with immense diversities. A single directly elected House, in fact, was considered inadequate to meet the challenges before free India. A second chamber known as the ‘Council of States’, therefore, was created with altogether different composition and method of election from that of the directly elected House of the People. It was conceived as another Chamber, with smaller membership than the Lok Sabha (House of the People). It was meant to be the federal chamber i.e., a House elected by the elected members of Assemblies of the States and two Union Territories in which States were not given equal representation.”
It is absolutely clear that the very reason of RS is to uphold the interests of every constituent state in a federal setup like India and to do that, it is very important that we choose candidates who know the pulse of the people, the problems of the state they represent. Decent expectation ?
Now, explain me, can hema malini or venkaiah naidu ever know what are the problems Kannadiga kids are facing at schools ? What reforms Kannada medium education needs to make it ready to face the challenge of globalisation ? Can they list top 5 problems of the farmers? Can they tell top 5 priorities interms of social and economic reforms our state needs ? Can they ever understand the pain and misery of Kannadigas when Kaveri judgement comes against us? when marathi goons create trouble for Kannadigas at border areas?
I think, there is no point in raising these questions to parties and their state leaders who blindly put “hebbattu” to whatever their high commands in Delhi says.
Not to forget, it was NDA govt which amended the people’s representation act and allowed anyone to contest rajyasabhe elections from anywhere, acting very much against the spirit of federalism.
Need proof ? Check page of this link:
Click to access upper_house.pdf
“In order to be chosen a member of Rajya Sabha, a person (a) must be a citizen of India, (b) must not be less than 30 years of age. Under the Representation of the People Act, 1951, a person had to be an elector in a parliamentary constituency in the State from where he seeks election to Rajya Sabha. It may, however, be mentioned that the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act, 2003, which amended Section 3 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, has done away with the requirement of being a resident of State or Union territory from which a person seeks to contest elections to Rajya Sabha.”
Anti federal national parties are the real sin to our state.
Why are writers and thespians and scribblers (yes, journos) considered intellectual?
Is it because of their talent in getting freebies from the Govt. while pretending independence. (RTI for journos with Govt. allocated sites in the last decade, or simply buy drinks in the Press Club – that works too!)
What about scientists and historians? Lots at IISc and Bangalore U and Mysore U … Oh no, wait … these people do real work …
“Since when has BJP known to attract intellectuals?”
You’re right, but forget them for a moment – I’m more worried about the holy dynasty. Yuvraj isn’t getting any younger…. What will happen to the glorious dynasty? Shouldn’t you make it your duty to ensure that Yuvraj and his Colombian girlfriend – ahem, ahem, cough cough – :D
Deepak, you are absolutely right. Yet, if one has to choose between an useless outsider and useless local, I would vote for a local. At least one can question the useless local. You can see the useless outsider only in pictures once a year. That is the difference.
twistleton, you mean you are scared to express your opinion even among unknown people, who would never see you and whom you would never see!
yesterday at the stadium, when the national anthem played the complete 30-45,000 crowd stood up and song.
none of you understood the statement above.
good, very good, Excellent.
Keeping shooting Wind
Only cheapskates can take sadistic pleasure in abusing people personally….
Have you lost it totally? Cheapo.
The question is not about an intellectual and a dumb ass. It is plain and simple, oppose whatever BJP does with vehemence. Even if BJP had nominated someone with utmost intellectual ability, these bunch of buffoons would have come up with some objections, take it for sure.
BJP perhaps had the same need the congress had, when it fielded our puppet pradhan mantri from assam for his rajya sabha seat. All said and done, Hema Malini has been a loyal BJP worker from a long long time. She has been a vote puller for the party. She had to be accomodated and the party did.
For those in this forum who are questioning what might be her contribution, please jog your memories and come up with one good thing MAM Ram did when he was elected from Karanataka on a JDS ticket. Or for that matter Mr.Rahaman Khan, who is currently facing grave charges of mis appropriation of funds from Amanath Co op Bank in Bangalore. Does anyone know here what the puppet did for Assam for all the years that he has been representing that state?
Misrepresentation is wrong. No matter whether it is in Karnataka or in Assam or in Delhi. I don’t think this is a question of parties and their principles. This is an ethical question. One of providing people a proper voice and representation.
@Sanjeeva – no that’s not what I meant.
I meant it doesn’t really make a difference who gets elected to the RS.
Hema Malini’s being a political neophyte or an “outsider” should not be held against her; neither should KM’s “intellectual” credentials be held against him. Performance has never been a criteria and it is unfair to expect it of anyone just because we don’t like them. But the question is not about parochial sentiments or intellectual snobbery at all.
It boils down to the party whip as Churumuri rightly says. Since it can be safely said that there is no such thing as intra-party democracy; the BJP will vote mostly as one. The desicion is a strategic one and has nothing to do with the biodata of either candidates. The point is the stakes aren’t so high to even bother publishing this article. :)
Your comments typically remind me of Eshwarappa.. For everything, he would say, didn’t the congress and JD(S) do the same? What is their contribution for Kannada? Karnataka.
The people of Karnataka voted BJP to power because they were pissed off with Congress and JD(S) and they really wanted to see a change with BJP. Now, BJP retorts to the same mistakes what Congress n JDS did, then why at all call themselves a party with difference ?
Finally, the daddi has won and the dadiwala budhivanta budhijeevi has lost. Che che che what a tragedy, my heart goes out to Karnad and his kangress/commie friends. What a tragedy for Karnataka, a black day indeed!!!!!!!