Sanjay Dutt - from ‘Gandhigiri’ to ‘Netagiri’
Ritesh K Srivastava
After wooing millions through his films for several years and teaching ‘Gandhigiri’ to his fans, Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt has now taken a new ‘avatar’. Our Munna Bhai has become a real life politician, who has promised to take forward the political legacy of his late father and Congress leader Sunil Dutt. The actor has also promised to practise and promote Gandhism – the ideals of non-violence and truth propagated by Mahatma Gandhi – to bring a paradigm change in the lives of people of India.The actor’s entry into the world of politics is a welcome step, but still many doubt whether he would be able to play a long innings in politics and command respect like his father or he would just cease to be a machine for consolidating the vote bank of the Samajwadi Party.
The actor has failed to realise that the Samajwadi Party is just trying to capitalise on his celebrity status and consolidate on its vote bank. Showing sympathy and lending its support to the actor is just a political gimmick and the party has nothing to do with Munna Bhai’s sufferings, humiliations and tragic past.
It is clearly evident from the fact that Munna Bhai was made the party’s general secretary shortly after his plea seeking the suspension of his conviction in connection with the 1993 serial blast case was rejected by the Supreme Court.
The Samajwadi Party earlier announced that it would field Dutt as its candidate from the Lucknow Lok Sabha constituency. However, the apex court’s ruling clearly shattered its plans to wrest control of the prestigious seat from the BJP.
The development might have come as a bolt from the blue to the SP camp and his fans, but for some it was a pleasant development, and they have very valid reasons to think so.
Firstly, the apex court continued to stay firm on the stand of not allowing a convicted person to contest Lok Sabha elections. Secondly, it was a God sent opportunity for the actor to bid adieu to the murky world of politics, particularly at times when it has become a cesspool of corruption and muscle power.
The actor has faced criticism from several quarters for his proven links with the conspirators of the Mumbai serial blasts. However, he has succeeded in improving his public image much due to the success of his Munna Bhai movies.
He would have been clever if he had decided to concentrate on his flourishing film career and improving his public image by engaging himself in charitable and social work. But he failed to do so, and instead chose to sink deeper into the marshy land of politics.
The master strategists of the SP camp soon realised that their new found publicity will soon fizzle out if Sanjay Dutt deserts the party, as a fall out of the Supreme Court’s decision.
So, Munna Bhai was successfully persuaded to become the general secretary of the SP and continue his Gandhigiri campaign.
The Samajwadi Party’s so called “good relations” with the Congress party have soured over the sharing of seats in UP and the former has recently announced an electoral alliance with the LJP and the RJD.
The SP has actually taken political advantage of Sanjay Dutt’s growing disillusionment with the Congress party(because of their preference of his sister) and succeeded in alluring him to join its ranks.
Munna Bhai has held the Congress leadership responsible for his lengthy trial and conviction and, above all, was audacious enough to blame them for his father Sunil Dutt’s untimely death.
In a press conference, Dutt criticised the Congress party for not showing respect to his father’s sentiments and welcoming firebrand former Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Nirupam into its fold, who had very often taken pot shots at his father.
By making these statements, he just reflected his utter frustration for not being able to contest Lok Sabha polls and appeared to be clearly under the influence of SP’s well known master-fixer, who has a dubious reputation of ‘breaking up many families and creating rifts among the best of friends’.
The actor also does not enjoy cordial relationship with his sister Priya Dutt, who is a Congress MP, since she does not approved his marriage with former item girl Manyata.
One fails to understand what has prompted Sanjay Dutt to join politics? Why is he dying to become a politician, at a time when several corruption cases and scandals have shaken peoples’ faith in our political class?
At this juncture, Sanjay Dutt has everything one ever dreams of. He is fairly rich, his Bollywood career is still in good shape, his films are still doing great business, he is an acclaimed film star and above all he still has people’s sympathy due to the goodwill his parents enjoyed.
For serving the country, you need not be a politician. One can serve the country even by doing full justice to one’s chosen profession. And for someone of Sanjay Dutt’s stature, it is not important to come under the umbrella protection of a political party.
It seems that Dutt, who has bitter memories of being handcuffed, jailed and convicted in past, now wants to enjoy the same power and immunity that a political leader commands.
His decision to join SP indicates that he is perhaps insecure. Congress has not come to his rescue and he now finds solace in the SP camp, which has given comfort to many other embittered Bollywood stars.
It would be in the best interest of Sanjay Dutt to either realise that politics is not a good place for an emotional man like him or fulfil the eligibility criterion for graduating as a shrewd politician.
He may be a competent actor, but he is miles behind our corrupt politicians, who are never ashamed of betraying any one for political mileage, lowering the dignity of democratic institutions for vested interests and threatening the country’s sovereignty for few hundred crores.
Till then we wish the Almighty and Gandhiji save our Munna Bhai!