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Rediff.com  » News » Actress Nagma: Sonia can be soft like Mother Teresa and tough like Indira Gandhi

Actress Nagma: Sonia can be soft like Mother Teresa and tough like Indira Gandhi

Last updated on: February 29, 2012 20:43 IST

Actress Nagma: Rahul can be PM today if he wants to, but...

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A Ganesh Nadar

'Rahulji wants to prove his mettle first. What better way to prove it than in winning the largest state in the country?'

Actress Nagma, a star campaigner for the Congress party, in an exclusive interview with Rediff.com's A Ganesh Nadar.

Nagma became a household name after her role opposite Tamil superstar Rajnikanth in his 1995 blockbuster movie Basha.

Once the biggest star in Kollywood, she is the only actress who has worked across the regional spectrum with superstars like Rajnikanth, Mammooty, Rajkumar, Chiranjeevi and Amitabh Bachchan.

Late into her career, Nagma took the plunge into politics and joined the Congress. As a member of the All India Congress Committee, the actress has been on a campaign blitz in Uttar Pradesh.

Unlike other star campaigners who make an appearance for a political party and then get back to tinsel town, Nagma has stayed put in Uttar Pradesh.

Nagma took a break from the campaign trail to speak to Rediff.com's A Ganesh Nadar.

Why did you join the Congress?

I joined the party in 2004 after I met Congress President Sonia Gandhi during the Lok Sabha elections. I canvassed in that election and also in the next election in 2009. We won both.

I joined the Congress because it is a secular and all-inclusive party. Everyone is welcome in the party. It is the only party that has members who have given up their lives for the nation.

Please click NEXT to read what Nagma thinks of Rahul Gandhi...


Image: Nagma


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'If there's a known goonda contesting from the opposite camp, we too put up our strongman'

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How does it feel to campaign for candidates with criminal records? There are many of them in the fray...

That was in the past. This time Rahulji has been very careful in selecting the candidates. Only clean candidates have been given tickets in Uttar Pradesh. But where there is a known goonda contesting from the opposite camp, we too put up our strongman to deal with him.

Moreover, I am not interested in individuals. I work for the party and for the country. I look at issues that affect the state and issues that affect the nation, not individuals.

How many states have you campaigned in?

I have campaigned in many states across the country. Lok Sabha, assembly, corporation elections... I have worked in all of them.

How different are the campaigning methods in various states?

It is different, as each state, each constituency has its own issues. I campaign after studying local issues and national issues, which affect them.

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Image: Nagma as Neta


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'I keep a low profile when Sonia speaks'

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Have you campaigned with Rahul and Sonia Gandhi?

On February 23, Sonia ji addressed a rally in Moradabad. I attended, but did not speak. I also kept a low profile and waved out to the crowd only at the end of the meeting.

I was scared about how the youth would react to me. I did not want them chanting, "Nagma, Nagma..." as they usually do when they see me. I did not want to distract the attention from Sonia ji.

Some people were screaming for (cricketer-turned-politician) Mohammed Azharuddin, but that is okay because he is the MP of that constituency. I was also asked to attend Rahulji's road show a couple of weeks ago in Kanpur, but I could not reach on time.

Where else are you campaigning now?

I have been called to Goa. But I have been unable to go -- Uttar Pradesh is such a huge state.

Do you only address public meetings or go door-to-door?

I have addressed public meetings. I have done rallies and road shows. I have gone door-to-door for leaders like Kapil Sibal ji.

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Image: Nagma with Raj Babbar, another star-politician


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'In politics, you have to work very hard'

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How come you never stood for elections?

In 2004, I was offered a seat, but I refused as I was a novice in politics. In 2009, I asked for a seat in Mumbai, which was held by (actor) Govindaji.

Congress workers said Govinda had done nothing in the constituency and people would not vote for another film star and so it was given to Gurudas Kamat (Sanjay Nirupam is the MP from Mumbai North, the constituency Govinda represented).

Furthermore, we had to give two seats to our alliance partner -- the NCP (Nationalist Congress Party).

Why don't you stand for elections in Tamil Nadu? You were such a big star there...

That is a good idea. Let the next elections come.

Shekhar Suman, who was your party's candidate from Patna in the 2009 Lok Sabha election, has just quit the Congress, saying he has too much work.

Does it mean that stars who want to join politics have to be unemployed?

When Shekhar joined the Congress he had more work than he has now. He has resigned for a personal reason.

Where is the question of being employed or unemployed? In politics, you have to work very hard, and those who do not want to work cannot be here.

You cannot expect rewards without putting in hard work. When you do not get something you tend to sulk.

You have to learn to work hard and then expect rewards. When you do not work, this is what happens. You are disappointed.

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Image: Nagma, as attractive as ever!


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'Soniaji can be soft like Mother Teresa and tough like Indira Gandhi'

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What is your equation with Sonia Gandhi?

The best possible equation. I have been an AICC member twice. I am listed among the party's 40 star campaigners in this election.

Soniaji knows I am a good and hard worker.

She can be as soft as Mother Teresa when the need arises. She can also be strong like Indira Gandhi when the situation demands.

What about Rahul Gandhi?

Rahulji is a youth icon. He can be the prime minister today if he wants to, but he wants to prove his mettle first.

What better way to prove it than in winning the largest state in the country?

He is charismatic and is determined to form a government here (in UP) and we are here to help him.

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Image: Nagma in Delhi


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