Rajesh Khanna campaigns for Congress

Amritsar: Fondly called `Kaka` by his fans, veteran Bollywood actor Rajesh Khanna, who is leading the Congress charge in his birth place Amritsar, today said those found guilty of corruption should be barred from politics for life.

Corrupt politicians, irrespective of which party they belong to, should be taken to task or jailed when they are caught embezzling public funds and thereafter should be barred from politics for life, he said.

The 69-year-old, who is here to campaign for the Congress, said, "I always observe my strong birth roots in the pious land of Amritsar and would always prefer to spend maximum time here."

Asked why he did not take Congress high command`s offer in 2009 to contest elections from Amritsar, Khanna said, "I would never like to ditch my own people with hollow promises like other politicians. I am of the opinion that when you are not able to serve the masses then don`t make fake promises to them since these are the sins." Khanna was a Congress MP from Delhi between 1991 and 1996.

He attacked Bollywood colleague and former BJP MP from Gurdaspur, Vinod Khanna, saying, "Vinod Khanna had made bundle of promises with the voters in Gurdaspur including that he would set up a film academy but never honoured his words. The voters threw him out."

On Bollywood celebrities taking to politics, Khanna said, "Film stars are crowd pullers as a reason, political parties prefer to use them in the elections." He claimed that when he was MP from Delhi, he worked "full time as a politician".

Khanna described cricketer-turned-politician and BJP MP from Amritsar Navjot Singh Sidhu as a "good comedian", but said that he could never be a good politician, "as politics was not comedy".

Talking about the 2007 general assembly elections in the state when Congress was defeated by SAD-BJP, Rajesh Khanna said that Congress had learnt its lesson. He said the party knew that it was thrown out of power since it failed to ensure development in Punjab. This time Congress party would bring a sea of development in the state, he said.

Launching a scathing attack on present SAD-BJP government in Punjab, Khanna accused them for poor governance. He alleged that SAD/BJP had misused funds disbursed by the UPA Government, which resulted in poor infrastructure in health and education departments in the state.