Political parties are once again roping in celebrities from business, sports, and the film industries to contest for elections. But these personalities’ performance as parliamentarians has been disappointing: in fact, their track record has been “abysmally poor”. Most of the celebrities turned parliamentarians don’t turn up for the Lok Sabha/ state assembly proceedings, they don’t stand up to the expectations of the people.
Joy Daniel Pradhan, a journalist, says, “The role of celebrities as parliamentarians is a very good idea and we cannot blame all the celebrities turned parliamentarians that they are not doing anything but wasting seats and money, there have been examples like Mr. Sunil Dutt who have done public welfare despite being a celebrity. But yes it is a fact that only some percentage of them does any good to public, I say that there should be a very careful evaluation and selection of celebrities for the post of parliamentarians and this idea should not be dropped because this idea is and always will be fruitful for the public and of course for the political parties.”
It is a fact that some of those celebrities do act in a responsible manner. But, political parties do it all just for their vote bank politics. Nearly, most of the political parties in India have assigned some percentage of their seats to celebrities in either Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha. Most of these elected celebrities do not understand their roles and responsibilities. Most of the celebrities lack interest in parliamentary proceedings and then celebrities like Hema Malini (having just 37% attendance in The Lok Sabha) issue statements like “I can become Chief Minister whenever I want to but I will not.”
Celebrities are public figures and for that reason, they are elected as members of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Political parties know that implications of policies would be easy with these celebrities cum parliamentarians in action. Also, any initiative taken by these public figures will have a great impact on a large number of audience and for this reason alone they are termed as a “public figures”, but some of these public figures hardly contribute any worth. Also, by not attending the proceedings they waste the seats and money, which can be given to a much more deserving candidate who can contribute with worthy information during parliamentary proceedings.
Navjot Singh Sidhu, Vinod Khanna, Govinda, Hema Malini, Dharmendra, Jaya Prada, Dara Singh, Vijay Mallya, Rahul Bajaj, Shyam Benegal, Bimal Jalan – all of them have delivered extremely poor performances in the Parliament, according to a 2009 report by National Social Watch Coalition.
For solving this problem, a minimum percentage of 50% and above attendance should be made compulsory in parliament sessions. Also, there should be a report from the end of the parliamentarians regarding their contribution in the sessions.
Moreover, an examination bench should be framed, which will study all the activities of parliamentarians. According to the reports made by the examination bench, strict action should be taken – this will regulate and upgrade the level of parliamentary proceedings. Also, it will help in the filtering of candidates for the next elections.