Bollywood stars shy away from poll campaigns

By Subhash K. Jha

Mumbai, April 4 (IANS) Getting Bollywood stars to canvas for votes is proving to be an uphill task for political parties as many actors are shying away from the frenzy of Lok Sabha poll campaigns - even though many contestants are themselves members of the film fraternity.

"We in the film industry talk about solidarity and brotherhood but we are a house divided. Getting stars to campaign this time has become really tough," Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Shatrughan Sinha told IANS.

"With stars unwilling to campaign, there is greater burden on me. I don't only have to look out for my own candidacy in Patna, I also have to be the so-called star attraction for my party and campaign for other candidates," he added.

Film industry sources said many actors are planning holidays in April or persuading their producers to arrange long schedules far away from the country to beat the simmering summer heat. As a result, many won't be available to support parliamentary poll candidates.

"I'm out of Mumbai in Karjat, shooting for the whole of April. Would I campaign for someone? Doubtful. Unless it's someone I believe can take the country forward. At the moment I don't see anyone whom I believe in," said filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar.

Govinda has offered to campaign for his Congress colleagues but his support is "optional".

"My services are optional. My heart has to say the candidate is right," he said.

Actor Irrfan Khan too said that it would take a lot of persuasion for him to campaign for anyone. "I need to be convinced of the candidate's intentions."

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