Celebrities endorse Mallika Sarabhai’s electoral battle against L K Advani

Several celebrities including controversial author,Salman Rushdie,and legal luminary Justice V R Krishna Iyer (retd),have endorsed the candidature of Mallika Sarabhai against BJP’s prime ministerial candidate,L K Advani...

Written by Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Published:March 26, 2009 12:21 am

Salman Rushdie and Justice (retd) V R Krishna Iyer have supported her candidature from Gandhinagar

Several celebrities including controversial author,Salman Rushdie,and legal luminary Justice V R Krishna Iyer (retd),have endorsed the candidature of Mallika Sarabhai against BJP’s prime ministerial candidate,L K Advani,from Gandhinagar.

If Rushdie’s Satanic Verses had angered Muslims all over the world,Mallika invited wrath of Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his supporters for her open criticism of what happened post-Godhra in Gujarat and for having termed the incident as genocide.

Apart from criminal cases including that of human trafficking having been booked against her,she,along with Medha Patkar among others,was allegedly beaten up by BJP workers at a meet organised by her at Sabarmati Ashram on April 7,2002.

The meet was held to find out a solution to Gujarat’s communal problem.

Knowing the odds well she might face in her contest against national leader Advani,Mallika is determined to give the BJP leader a fight to “bring in a refreshing change in India’s politics and strengthen democracy by introducing total transparency in politics”.

In the “new mode of politics” that she wants to bring in,she says purity of means will be quite significant. “It is a process where ends do not justify the means,” she says.

“My political campaign is as much about the process,the means,the culture and aesthetics of politics,as about raising issues that concern us as citizens,” declares Mallika.

“The means have to be fair,just,non-violent and therefore,transparent,” she says,appealing people to help her bring the much-needed change in the country’s politics.

Asked what kind of attack she expects from her political rivals,particularly the BJP,she says they can bring in the issues related to Medha Patkar’s (considered to be anti-Gujarati by many in the state) Sabarmati meet and the allegations of her involvement in human trafficking.

As for Patkar’s presence at the meet,she says it was an open invitation and she would not have objected even if Modi had reached the venue.

Regarding human trafficking charges,she says a case was fabricated against her by using one of her students,but she was acquitted and declared innocent by the Gujarat High Court. In fact,a BJP MP was caught red-handed on charges of human trafficking and was later disqualified from the Lok Sabha.

In the last seven days since her announcement to enter the electoral battle,Mallika has faced several questions from the locals.

On her alleged opposition to development,Mallika says,“I have serious objection to this definition of development. It is not development in which only a handful of persons or industrialists benefit and others lose their jobs and land.”

She says she stands for development that benefits a larger group of people and which does not cost farmers their land and others their means of livelihood.

Mallika hopes to raise Rs 25 lakh from donors and philanthropists to finance her election expenditure. Since the announcement of her candidature,she has received more than Rs 3 lakh in her account named “Mallika Sarabhai MP election 2009’’ opened in the Bank of India’s Vadaj Road branch. Her account number is 20281011001569. She says she accepts donations from within the country only.

Mallika will be felicitated by the American Women’s Organisation for her lifetime contribution to arts and activism in New Delhi on March 30,said sources.

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