Prominent actors and actresses were among those who took time off their busy schedules to exercise their franchise in the third phase of the Lok Sabha elections in Pune on Tuesday. Many of them, who are enrolled in voters’ lists in Pune, travelled from Mumbai to cast their votes.
One of them was Subodh Bhave, a popular Marathi actor who had recently “interviewed” Congress president Rahul Gandhi at an event in Pune. Bhave, who is currently shooting for popular Marathi TV serial “Tula Pahate Re” in Mumbai, left the metropolis in the early hours of Tuesday and reached Pune at 8.30 am. “I cast my vote at a polling station in Budhwar Peth, which is close to my residence,” said Bhave. “After exercising my voting rights around 9.30 am, I returned to Mumbai to continue with my shooting”.
Bhave, who also released a video clip appealing people to exercise their right to vote, said, “Elections are a festival of democracy. We should all realise the importance of voting and contributing as responsible citizens.” His co-actor, Gayatri Datar, who plays Nisha Nimkar in the serial, also travelled from Mumbai to cast her vote in Pune. “As responsible citizens, we should all cast our votes,” he said.
Bhave’s interview of Gandhi and his comments regarding a biopic on the leader had raised eyebrows since Bhave is associated with the Shiv Sena. However, Bhave later clarified that the comments were made in a lighter vein and he had permission from the Sena leadership for conducting the interview.
Actor and director Amol Palekar also cast his vote at Shivajinagar polling station. Palekar had been unable to vote in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections as he had found his name missing from the voters’ list. The issue had snowballed into a controversy, with Palekar filing a police complaint and seeking an investigation into the matter, while the district election office had drawn flak over the omission.
The veteran actor, however, faced no such issue on Tuesday. “I voted at Shivajinagar polling station,” he said.
District Collector Naval Kishore Ram said complaints regarding names missing from voters’s lists were few. “We received 30-35 complaints of missing names and most of them were from Pune cantonment area. We had given enough time for voters to get their names verified … it seems voters whose names were missing did not make any efforts to ensure that their names were present in the voters’ list,” he said.
Actors Mruynmayee Deshpande and her sister also cast their votes and also appealed to Pune residents to exercise their franchise.