‘Real Star’ Upendra (‘Uppi’ to his fans) is known for movies like ‘A,’ ‘Super,’ ‘Uppi2,’ ‘H2O,’ ‘Auto Shankar’ and ‘Raktha Kanneeru,’ which are filled with political innuendo and utopian ideals. Now, he is set to tackle such issues in real life as well with the launch of his ‘prajakiya’ party, one that he says will be based entirely on democratic values.
“Why do we believe it is not possible to do politics without cash or caste? Why do we still depend on public meetings to bring people together in this tech-savvy age? After all, the people are the kings in a democracy. I don’t want to point fingers at others, I feel I must do something for the people. What we need is not ‘rajakiya,’ (politics) but ‘prajakiya,’ (a people’s movement),” he said at a press conference to announce his entry into politics.
Uppi’s foray into politics has long been a matter of speculation, with rumour mills running overboard on Friday that he could join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), as he is among the special invitees to a meeting of eminent personalities from different fields called by BJP chief Amit Shah.
The actor put to these rumours to rest by saying he will go his own way. “I got invited by many political parties to join them. But I want to do this on my own. I don’t even have a name or symbol for my party as yet, I want everyone to share their thoughts and opinions on this,” he said.
In the election-bound state that will see a tough three-way battle between the BJP, Congress and the JDS, Uppi’s foray will add a new dimension – and is even being seen as a fourth front on the lines of the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi.
The first indication of his plans came in late July, when Upendra tweeted that he has stopped finding faults with the system and stopped complaining about anything anymore. He said he was only focused on finding remedies, and he would come out with his plans soon.
On Saturday, he reiterated that he would not look at public rallies that cost money, caused traffic jams, and achieved nothing on ground. His policy would be to reach out to people through technology and social media tools, constantly monitor progress of public works and projects through WhatsApp and online tools, and reach out to them with the truth.
“I don’t need followers, I need workers. We need to choose people who are most efficient and skilled in that task, to get the work done, instead of going by what their caste-background is,” he said.
Election candidates should be chosen on the basis of a competitive exam, he said.
“We have exams and interviews for everything – schools to civil services. But there is no way to check if an MLA candidate has the qualification for his post. When we supervise everything that our househelp does, who we pay just Rs 5,000, imagine what we should do for the MPs, MLAs all of whose salaries we pay? Why don’t we have an exam for these people to see if they are suited to represent the people? We need to see if he knows what problems are there in his area, and if he can offer solutions for it,” he said in an audio-clip he put out on WhatsApp.
Now it is yet to be seen how far the ideas of the ‘Real Star’ would go in the real world, but politicians from other parties have welcomed his foray. “If he comes without donning all the make-up (read, without any pretense), he is welcome,” said Congressman DK Shivakumar, while JDS’ Zameer Ahmed Khan said he welcomes any step that helps to cleanse politics.