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Now Bhupen Hazarika joins the BJP
Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi |
February 27, 2004 20:52 IST
Renowned Assamese musician Bhupen Hazarika on Friday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party saying he was 'enamoured' of the achievements of the Vajpayee government.
Hazarika, who is also a filmmaker, director and music composer, said it was his dream to develop the northeast.
BJP leader Sushma Swaraj pointed out that Hazarika was also a journalist having done his doctorate in mass communications from the Columbia University in 1952.
Hazarika is a Padma Bhsuhan awardee and recipient of the Dabasaheb Phalke Puruskar. He was also the chairman of the Sangeet Natak Akademi.
All his five films had received the President's gold medal and he was also an independent legislator in the Assam assembly from 1967-72.
Swaraj said that Hazarika was well known to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani.
"Although Bhupenda is an Assamese he belongs to entire India and is a gift to his state," She said.
Asked why he had chosen to join the BJP, Hazarika said, "The BJP has proved to be the most stable party. I wanted and saw that the field of art (under the Vajpayee government) should be seen as an instrument of social change."
He said that if Hindutva was to be rightly interpreted 'then BJP has done wonders for the prestige of India'.
Asked if the people of the northeast and Assam would be offended by his joining the BJP since he was a liberal, Hazarika said, "I am the darling of everybody and I also love them all."
Asked whether he would fight the impending parliamentary polls, he looked momentarily confused. Then he turned towards Swaraj and party colleague Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and asked, "Shall I tell them?"
When the assembled journalists burst into guffaws, as did the BJP leaders, he was momentarily flustered. Then grinning he said he would do whatever Vajpayee and Advani decided.
Asked whether he had been invited by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to have tea with her, Hazarika said, "No, I have never met her in my life."
But he later admitted, "I was invited to have tea (with Sonia) but I came here (BJP) to have rice."
BJP leader Arun Jaitley talking informally to reporters had a dig at the Congress chief's expense.
"Whenever she (Sonia) calls potential recruits for tea, they all cross over to the BJP," he laughed.
He cited the examples of former test cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu, Arif Mohammed Khan and Hazarika in this context.
On Hazarika joining the BJP, Jaitley said, "He represents the aspirations of the northeast region."