Past hangs heavy,Dutt keeps off Durban ANC rally

Actor Sanjay Dutt on Sunday failed to turn up for the much-awaited rally of the African National Congress in Durban...

Written by M Subramoney | Durban | Published:March 2, 2009 12:25 am

Actor Sanjay Dutt on Sunday failed to turn up for the much-awaited rally of the African National Congress (ANC) in Durban,fuelling speculation that the ruling party may have developed cold feet over the inclusion of the controversial actor to woo the voters of Indian origin ahead of crucial polls.

Dutt,who had been invited by the ANC,was also expected to visit the Gandhi Settlement in Durban as part of an attempt to woo the Indian-origin voters for the elections on April 22.

Deputy minister Roy Padaychee,who was also a member of the organising committee for the ANC rally,said that Dutt was unable to participate as he could not fit the rally into his schedule. A local radio station had earlier broadcast an interview with Dutt where he spoke of his keenness to attend the rally.

Even as the ANC has declined to divulge any further details,it’s learnt that the party had come in for severe criticism for associating with the controversial actor,who had been convicted on weapons charges in 2006.

“Dutt is an unsavoury character in India. It’s also quite confusing that the ANC is linking up with a politician who is in opposition to India’s Congress Party,considering that the relationship between the ANC and the Congress Party dates back to before Indian independence,” said Kiru Naidoo,a political analyst.

The “choice of Dutt is strange” as the Indian Congress party was at the forefront of the alliance with the ANC during the apartheid struggle,he added.

He said the Samajwadi Party has its merits,but there was no record of any relationship between the ANC and SP. “The ANC leadership has been badly informed about Dutt’s credentials. Dutt has little pulling power in India and I think he will have less pulling power in South Africa,” said Naidoo.

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