In the ’80s TV serials became a household craze in India and taking advantage of these TV serials the political parties started enticing Popular TV stars to contest elections! As expected once again popularity hit the bulls’ eye and even TV stars won Lok Sabha Election and turned Member of Parliaments.
Interestingly TV actress Deepika Chikhalia who played Sita in Ramanand Sagar‘s Ramayan won Lok Sabha elections for Member of Parliament from Baroda constituency in 1991 on Bharatiya Janata Party candidate. Similarly, Gujarati film star Arvind Trivedi, who played the dreaded Ravan in Ramayan also won Lok Sabha elections for Member of Parliament from Sabarkantha district in 1991 on Bharatiya Janata Party candidate. But what may stun readers is that Bollywood star Arun Govil who played Lord Ram in Ramayan could NOT WIN election!!! Reason?? Well, Congress contested Arun Govil in the late 1980s Election while BJP contested Deepika and Arvind Trivedi when the nation was raging for Ram Mandir and LK Advani had carried the Rath Yatra!!!
Though Arun Govil aka Lord Ram on TV screen failed, Marathi film star Nitish Bharadwaj who played Lord Krishna in B.R. Chopra‘s Mahabharata (1988) won the Lok Sabha Jamshedpur seat in 1996 from BJP ticket!! In 2015, Roopa Ganguly joined Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of West Bengal Legislative Assembly election, 2016 but lost assembly pools in 2016. Nevertheless, she was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in October 2016.
After the mythological serials, the other TV serial that took India by storm was Ekta Kapoor‘s first household family soup Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi‘ (2001). The actress who rose to great heights of popularity was Tulsi Virani aka Smriti Irani. She joined the BJP in 2003 and has been the most successful actors turned politicians in India. In the coming elections, Smriti Irani would be contesting from Gandhi stronghold Amethi opposite Congress President Rahul Gandhi!!!
After, Smriti Irani, the other TV celebrity, who made a big name in politics, is Navjot Singh Sidhu. Though Sidhu is a cricketer professionally but his wild laughter and unique commentary packed with one-liners, better known as ‘Sidhuisms made him a hot favourite in Cricket commentary on TV. His laughter popularized him as a judge on the admired television laughter programme, The Great Indian Laughter Challenge. Taking advantage of his popularity BJP gave him a ticket from Amritsar seat in the Indian general elections, 2004, which he won. He had to resign the seat due to a road rage case against him. In 2006 he won the bye-election from the seat. In 2009 he again won the seat. In 2014 he did not contest and quit BJP in 2018. Now he has joined Congress and would contest from Delhi incoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Popular standup comedian Raju Shrivastav who became a household name after The Great Indian Laughter Challenge was offered Lok Sabha ticket by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party in 2014. He was given ticket from his town Kanpur but soon Raju Srivastava left the party citing reason he was not getting a good response from the people. Hence fearing to lose the election he decided to quit. Later Raju joined BJP and has been assigned to spread Swachh Bharat Abhiyan awareness through comedy and promote cleanliness.
Bhagwant Mann, another comedian from The Great Indian Laughter Challenge won the 2014 Lok Sabha Election on the AAP ticket from Punjab’s small-town Sangur.