April 15, 2009 2:26:18 pm
Mallika has brought glamour into the fight,while Advani is a veteran of the game,having won the seat four times. But the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate from the area,Rakesh Pandey,is no less interesting.
Pandey (30),a popular Bhojpuri and Gujarati film actor,is now trying his luck in politics. But unlike the politicians in Gujarat,he moves along with a gunman while on his campaign.
Originally from Ghazipur district near Varanasi in eastern Uttar Pradesh,Pandey has made Gandhinagar his home for the last 10 years and has settled in the Info-city. He is married to a Gujarati woman.
Best of Express Premium
Pandey has been running a news agency,World News Service,for the last eight years,and a website,worldnewservice.com,for the last two years. He has acted in Gujarati film Sneh na Sagpan with Gujarati superstars Hiten Kumar,Rupa Diwetia and Neelam Panchal. According to Pandey,this is the only Gujarati film based on the theme of investors losing money in stocks and getting reduced to paupers. It has been dubbed into Hindi as well and will be released soon.
His Bhojpuri film Bhojpuria Don with Manoj Tiwari is set to be released soon. He is also acting in three other films: Savario Pardes Maan Hoon,Kem Rahoon Des Maan (Gujarati),Jhansi ki Rani (Bhojpuri) and another Bhojpuri film. Pandey is playing the role of legendary freedom fighter Mangal Pandey in Jhansi Ki Rani.
Pandey has also been running an NGO,Progressive Foundation for Human Rights,which holds seminars in Gujarat and elsewhere in the country.
He also runs a sports NGO,Sport of India,which has been organising contests in different states for the last three years. Recently,his NGO had organised a week-long hockey tournament in Hyderabad.
Pandey had lost the 2007 Assembly election from the Gandhinagar seat,where he had polled merely 2,000 votes. He now wants the youth to take active part in politics to bring about a change in the system. Just sitting at home and abusing the existing corrupt political system will not solve problems, he said.
When asked what motivated him to join the BSP,which had once scorned the upper castes,Pandey said the party has progressed a lot since its inception decades ago. From talking about the welfare of only Dalits,it now talks of sarva jan hitay,sarva jan sukhay (welfare of all,happiness of all), Pandey said,stressing that the BSP has now become a party taking all sects,communities and religious groups in its ambit. It is the changed ideology of the party that attracted me towards it, he added.
Pandey said it is his dream to see Mayawati become the Prime Minister. BSP has a serious political agenda of empowering the poorer sections against the BJP,which survives on communal politics,and the Congress that plays divide and rule by engineering sectarian and communal riots,he said.
He accused the Congress and BJP of engineering the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and the post-Babri and 2002 Gujarat riots.
Making fun of mazboot neta (strong leader) and nirnayak sarkar (decisive government) slogans of the BJP,he said terrorists had entered Parliament and hijacked an Indian Airlines plane to Kandahar when Advani was the Union Home Minister.
The BJP-led NDA government deployed forces along the Pakistan border for a year but could not decide whether to launch an attack or not. Troops were finally withdrawn after spending thousands of crores,he said.
Pandey added that during the NDA rule,Indias Defence Minister was subjected to frisking in the US. He advised Advani to retire and spend the rest of his life singing bhajans and allow the youth to take over government affairs.
📣 Join our Telegram channel (The Indian Express) for the latest news and updates
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.