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  Life   More Features  07 Apr 2019  The (Abhi)neta returns

The (Abhi)neta returns

THE ASIAN AGE. | LIPIKA VARMA
Published : Apr 7, 2019, 12:03 am IST
Updated : Apr 7, 2019, 12:03 am IST

The actress has been championing the cause of women’s rights for years and has actively spoken about gender disparity and safety.

Jaya Prada
 Jaya Prada

The battle for Rampur in Uttar Pradesh is no less than a Bollywood potboiler. In her first rally after her induction as BJP’s candidate for the constituency, Jaya Prada broke down recalling the threats she had received from Azam Khan earlier, her nemesis at the upcoming polls. “I left Rampur and active politics because they [Samajwadi party] tried to attack me with acid,” she lamented. Incidentally, it was Azam Khan who had persuaded her to contest the 2004 Lok Sabha polls. But in the next election, Khan vehemently opposed her candidature in 2009 elections but she won, nonetheless. The actress-turned-politician returns to Rampur after five years and says, “I am very happy to see the people of Rampur who have welcomed me with open arms and are supporting me.”

Jaya Prada, who came into the limelight with Rishi Kapoor-starrer Sargam in 1985, has been known to be reserved in her conversations but years in politics has made her resilient. “My political career has enriched my knowledge about staying away from negative vibes. I create a positive aura and am able to speak in front of lakhs of people only because I have learnt my lessons well. I am dedicated, adamant and committed. Although these three qualities can be considered as minus points in a woman but for me, this is a blessing. People have a wrong notion that film stars don’t make good politicians. I must tell those who address stars with derogatory comments that people like us work for the betterment of their constituency with heart and soul.”

But her journey into politics has been riddled with multiple challenges. “In 2009, I was contesting with Dimple Kapadia and Jaya Bachchan. At that time, the Congress government troubled us, alleging that I had hidden Rs 7 crores. More than 1000 police armed men would barge into our rooms, trying to locate the hidden booty. Do you think anyone can hide such a huge amount under his or her bed?  They gheroed us with 27 vans,” she recollects. The veteran actress despite the problems she encountered. “Truth has to prevail, above all. My nude posters were pasted everywhere and the S.P. that once supported me did not even care for all the mishaps. But I moved forward with resilience,” says the politician who believes that women can bring a positive change in politics. “Even in the political arena, we need good people to join politics. I believe women can lead the country.”

As the election arena heats up, the veteran actress is not affected by the mudslinging and name calling that is routinely being inflicted on her. “You will only read in books that women have the right to equality. The scenario is much different in real life. Women politicians don’t get much support and girl power is being suppressed. The 33% Women Reservation Bill is yet to be passed. For ages, women have been subjected to not getting equal rights as men. Even in the Assembly, they have been routinely attacked and this has been ongoing for years. Ministers like Lalu Parasd Yadav were totally against passing the reservation bill.”

The actress has been championing the cause of women’s rights for years and has actively spoken about gender disparity and safety. “I was the first women leader from my constituency to shoulder the responsibilities and focus on the security issues of women. If you recall, during my last political inning, some children were victims of sexual abuse. I took these cases to most senior leader Shri Mulayam Singh as he was in the ruling party. However, no justice was served to those children.”

Tags: jaya prada, azam khan, rishi kapoor