Campaigning for the first phase of the Bihar polls, which ended on Monday (October 26), was a star- studded affair, as Bollywood and Bhojpuri actors such as Ameesha Patel, Akshara Singh, Raj Babbar and Manoj Tiwari sought votes on behalf of parties and contestants in the electoral fray.
The stars may have emerged bigger attractions than political personalities such as Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) chief Nitish Kumar, Lok Janshakti Party’s (LJP) Chirag Paswan and Rashtriya Janata Dal’s (RJD) Tejashwi Yadav, but doubts linger whether they can influence the electoral outcome on November 10, when poll results will be declared.
This is also the first assembly election –71 seats go to polls on Wednesday — to be held amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.
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Patel, who had captured the public’s imagination in Hrithik Roshan’s debut film, Kaho Na Pyaar Hai, sought votes on behalf of Dr Prakash Chandra, the LJP candidate from Obra assembly constituency in Aurangabad district.
Bhojpuri actor Singh made an appeal to voters and sang songs in support of Anil Kumar, the national president of the Jantantrik Vikas Party (JVP), who is contesting from the Tarari assembly seat in Bhojpur district.
Actor Babbar, who is still remembered for his stellar performances in films such as Insaf Ka Tarazu and Nikaah, campaigned for Congress candidates last week.
Babbar was among the Congress leaders, who had released the party’s manifesto Badlaav Patra 2020 at its state headquarters, Sadaqat Ashram, in Patna, last week. Randeep Singh Surjewala, Tariq Anwar and Shakti Singh Gohil were the other Congress leaders, who were also present on the occasion.
Actor Tiwari campaigned for the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidates and regaled the public with the popular number, Jiya Ho Bihar Ke (Lala) Bhaiyya, from the film, Gangs of Wasseypur.
“The jury is still out, whether the huge gathering to watch the stars at rallies will translate into votes for the candidates that they campaigned for,” said Rajeshwar Prasad Singh, a retired professor of history from Patna University.
He reasoned that an actor’s glamour alone might not be enough to tip the scale in favour of a candidate in a politically-conscious state such as Bihar, where the voters are known to be a discernible lot.
Keshav Kumar, a resident from Daudnagar, who watched Patel’s campaign trail at Obra on Monday, said the road show saw an impressive turnout.
“She arrived by flight to Patna on Monday morning and went to Thakur Bigha near Arwal for the road show. She reached Obra via Daudnagar in an open vehicle, where the public had lined up on both sides of the road to welcome her,” he said.
“The crowd was tripping over each other to catch a glimpse of her. In rural Bihar, Bollywood stars have always been a big draw. But, it’s doubtful whether they will vote for candidates that these stars campaign for,” he added.
The second and third phase of polling for the 243-member Bihar legislative assembly will be held on November 3 and 7, respectively.
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