Kasturi Ray

Author of Democracy on the Road Ruchir Sharma had rightly said in his book that star power in Indian elections does play a role but transiently. What clicks in reel does not reflect in real.

Arrogance and star-power do not count in public life unless backed by substance and statement of purpose. There have been many actors to have traversed the path of politics only to be pushed back to oblivion or consigned to fringe reference as footnotes in the political history, thanks to their lack of performance, sincerity, and most importantly, the over-riding vanity of being a star. Such actors are remembered only by their face value that lasts for a short-term and never for being MPs and MLAs.

And then, there have been legends like late Sunil Dutt, Shatrughan Sinha, late Vinod Khanna, late Rajesh Khanna, Jaya Bachchan, etc. who have left their imprint on the political arena by their ability to shed the aura or stardom and engage deeply with the causes they have committed to.

For MP Anubhav Mohanty, the legends of Hindi cinema who had taken to politics should be examples. Act only where people pay to watch your acting and not in public where you are a representative of the people elected to serve them. But, the sudden elevation from a purported star in a movie industry that is nowhere in the film map of the country seems to have gone to his head. In his self-created nimbus of power and authority, he appears to have bypassed the foremost consideration of proper conduct and values in public life.

If the MP thought his action will speak louder than words, he is either naive, ingenuous or inexperienced. There’s nothing wrong in being a silent or a humble crusader if one so wishes to be. It is sad, a degree from Shobhit Institute could not help the actor learn basic behaviourial life lessons.

If it is complex of any sort, it is doubtful if superiority or inferiority. Winning against a gigantic leader by garnering massive votes, most understand, was because of many powers, factors and machinations at work during elections. But instead of being thankful or humble, it has made him haughty and proud. There are instances galore since his election when he has been caught in the wrong foot. Yet, he has developed a rare consistency in misconduct.

It's time the actor follows in the footsteps of those he considers his messiah – CM Naveen Patnaik or actors in Hindi film industry. They set trends and are looked up to for their larger than life demeanor in public life.

But there are two things that the MP has done to Odisha through his consistent high-handed behaviour – one, he has become a trend of sorts in Twitter, for wrong reasons, where people cutting across party lines, media affiliations have come together to point out his browbeating. Second, he has brought famed journalists of Odisha together, that was missing earlier, to speak out against the rowdyism he portrayed towards one of their clan.

When a mango tree is in full bloom it bends. If the MP feels he is in his best phase, he should also not resist bending for his own good and party as well. And, he should not think before going full throttle to say, he is sorry. That will make him emerge strong and earn goodwill which he has otherwise lost since winning Kendrapara seat.