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Actors, singers vie for tickets to contest polls in Bihar as Covid-19 hits film industry hard

Left with no or just fewer job options, these actors have turned to politics to cash in upon their popularity and turn a new chapter in their life.

MANOJ CHAURASIA | Patna |

Around a dozen actors and singers associated with the Bollywood, Bhojiwood and television industry have been vying for tickets to contest polls in Bihar as the film industry remains badly hit by Covid-19. The three-phase Assembly elections in the state are to begin from 28 October.

Reports said majority of the actors and singers have been left jobless due to suspension of film-related activities. Left with no or just fewer job options, these actors have turned to politics to cash in upon their popularity and turn a new chapter in their life.

The first in the list is Ali Khan who has acted in several Bollywood films such as Khuda Gawah, Khiladi, (1992), Roop Ki Rani Chorona Ka Raja (1993) and Alibab Aur 40 Chor (2004). Ali who belongs to Sherghati town in Bihar’s Gaya district wants to contest on Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) ticket headed Lalu Prasad .

“For long, I have entertained people through movies but now they want me to get involved in social service. So I want to contest elections this time,” Khan told the media. He said the RJD chief had blessed him for the ticket and he was hopeful of getting the party ticket.

Likewise, Akhilendra Mishra who has done Bollywood films like ‘Lagaan’ and ‘Sarfarosh’ has been in touch with various political parties to contest elections. Reports said he wants to contest assembly elections from Amnour seat in Saran district.

Shekhar Suman, popular Bollywood actor who unsuccessfully contested LS elections on Congress party ticket, though himself is not interested this time but is said to be lobbying hard to get a ticket for his wife, reports said.

Akshra Singh, a popular Bhojpuri film actress and singer, is learnt to be trying to get a ticket from the RJD to contest elections from a seat in Patna district. Rakesh Mishra, another Bhojpuri actor who has acted in dozens of films, wants to contest elections while another such actor Khesari Lal Yadav has been in touch with the BJP.

Bhojpuri lyricist and composer Vinay Bihari is working hard to retain his Lauria assembly seat in West Champaran. “It’s an opportunity to work for the people who love us. This is why I have decided to be in the poll arena once again,” Bihari said.

What is interesting Bihar goes to polls amid Corona pandemic even as the masses are still to shed inhibition.

The major worry for the voters are the surging Covid-19 cases in the state at this time when the poll process is already set in motion with the Election Commission(EC) already announcing the dates for polling and the government staff being imparted training about how to conduct elections during Covid-19 and maintain the highest level of safety standard.

According to a report of the Bihar health department, Covid-19 has claimed 924 lives and infected around two lakh people till date. The EC’s guidelines also state that quarantined Covid-19 patients will also be allowed to cast their votes at the polling booths during the last hour of polling under the supervision of health authorities. This has further panicked the voters.