'I am one of the most law-abiding politicians and you won’t find me in any scuffle anywhere,' Raj Babbar tells Subhash K Jha
Recently, actor-turned-politician Raj Babbar was caught on camera while the Congress Parliamentarian was shouting angrily at some policemen during an election meeting in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh.
The video shot by a TV news channel shows Babbar shouting angrily at the policemen, asking them why they were recording his speech when there were “criminals running around scot-free” in the state.
Ghaziabad police have taken strong exception to Babbar’s outburst and an investigation has been ordered into the matter.
But Babbar claimed that he was only a ‘victim’ of overzealous administrative intervention.
“When I asked the policemen why they were videographing me, I was not being high-handed, I was making a legitimate point. The Election Commission rules that public speeches of election candidates should be videographed. But I was not in a public place. I was at a Congress corporator’s residence and the law under Section 144 does not apply there,” he said.
“I was informally addressing my party colleagues at a private gathering and not making a public speech. There was no public address system, no loudspeakers. It was just me talking informally with my colleagues. They had no right to videograph me,” Babbar added.
Babbar, a sitting Member of Parliament from Firozabad in Uttar Pradesh, is contesting from Ghaziabad, where he is pitted against Bharatiya Janata Party candidate and former Indian Army chief V K Singh.
“A politician of the Samajwadi Party lives close to the corporater’s residence. He informed police about my presence. I am one of the most law-abiding politicians and you won’t find me in any scuffle anywhere. This whole thing has been blown out of proportion to malign me,” he said.
“There are many political elements from rival parties in my constituency who can’t digest the fact that an honest politician can do his job sincerely and effectively and still be elected from the same constituency four times,” Babbar added.
Babbar, one of the first Bollywood personalities to enter politics, expressed happiness over many of his former colleagues joining politics.
“There was a time when only the intelligentsia -- lawyers, doctors, teachers -- were allowed into politics. Today politics needs dynamic professionals from all walks of life. I am glad my colleagues are coming into politics. Before me, there were distinguished actors-turned-parliamentarians like Karunanidhi, MGR, Shivaji Ganesan and Jayalalitha.”
He also pointed out that many actor and actresses had done well in the political arena.
“Rajesh Khanna, Shatrughan Sinha, Jaya Prada. Hema Malini…I think they prove that there’s more to show business than just show,” he said.
Babbar’s sons -- actors Arya and Pratiek -- are also expected to campaign for him in Ghaziabad.
“They are busy with their respective lives. I have asked them to join me. If they can come here, I will be happy,” said Babbar.
Image: Raj Babbar with actor Aamir Khan