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Stars add sparkle to dull voting day

April 27, 2004 04:39 IST
Last Updated: April 27, 2004 04:45 IST

Mumbai glitterati turned up in sizeable numbers to participate in the Lok Sabha election on Monday but some had a rude shock when they found their names missing from the voters list.

The early birds included Reliance chief Anil Ambani, who came straight from his morning jog to vote in Colaba. Other members of his family: Mukesh Ambani, Tina Ambani, Kokila Ambani, followed later.

Thespian Dilip Kumar, his wife Saira Banu, actress Preity Zinta, actor Prem Chopra, actress Shabana Azmi and writer husband Javed Akhtar were among those who turned up for voting. Noted diva Lata Mangeshkar came dressed in a white sari with a tri-colour border.

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Actor Aamir Khan came in his Mangal Pandey get up, actor Sanjay Dutt arrived straight from Jaisalmer from a shoot to exercise his franchise while Mahesh Bhatt came accompanied by daughter Pooja Bhatt.

The celebrities from the cricket world included Sachin Tendulkar, who came accompanied by his wife Anjali, and former India captain Ajit Wadekar.

Zee TV owner Subhash Chandra Goel also came forward to exercise his franchise.

Among those who had to return without casting their vote were writer Shobha De, industrialist Adi Godrej, ad film maker Prahlad Kakkar and Censor Board chief Anupam Kher, who found their names missing from the electoral roll.

Godrej spent time hunting for his name but in vain. De pursued the matter with the election office but again in vain. Also enraged over the issue was actress Kajol and her family.

Many film personalities turned to vote at the Juhu Gandhigram Municipal School in Vile Parle (West), chief among them being Sunil Dutt, who is the Congress candidate from Mumbai North West constituency. His main opponent is Shiv Sena's Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Nirupam.

Former actress Pooja Bedi enthusiastically made her way into the school building to cast her vote. But after searching for her name in the electoral list for about half-an-hour, she gave up.

"I feel that every vote counts and I am very upset because I was not allowed to cast my vote. There is no change in my permanent address. My father's personal assistant had even checked with authorities whether my name is present in the voters list and he was told that my name does figure there. But here they tell me it is not."

Non Governmental Organisation AGNI was taking down the names of people who have a voter's identity card but whose names did not figure in the electoral roll.

AGNI volunteer Bharat Malkani said, "More them 500 people registered with us till 1.30pm. The list does not have names of anyone from my building (Bindiya). Many voters of Gandhigram Road also faced the same problem."

When film star Govinda came to cast his vote, the NGO told him about this problem. The actor is contesting the election from Mumbai North parliamentary constituency but is registered in the jurisdiction of Mumbai North West constituency.

"I have got many such complains. In my own constituency (Mumbai North), in many places polling booths were opened very late, like 9 to 10am. I had visited maximum number of such areas. We are collecting the complaints and will act on that."

For the Oberoi family: Suresh, wife Yashodhara, daughter Meghna and son Vivek, everything went off smoothly.

"I am attached to the BJP. The party is doing good work and has given me a chance to do some social work," Suresh Oberoi said.

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"My parents were offered tickets to contest the elections but they did not take up the offer and instead decided to continue their social work. It makes me proud," Vivek Oberoi added.

Asked if his entire family supports the BJP, Suresh Oberoi said, "I cant say because I don't know who my family member voted for."

Actor, director and producer Dev Anand, who had once formed a political party, today favours the Vajpayee government. "Vajpayee is doing a very good job. Let's give him five more years to continue his good work," he said.

With inputs from Vijay Singh in Mumbai

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