Few memories of 1991 when Kaka contested against Advani and Shatru

Few memories of 1991 when Kaka contested against Advani and Shatru

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Rajesh Khanna, Congress leader being weigh against coins during election campaign-. Express photo *** Local Caption *** Rajesh Khanna, Congress leader being weigh against coins during election campaign-. Express photo
I was Kaka’s Media advisor from 1991  till he was in Delhi as a member of parliament and managed his total election during 1991 and there after from the media management point of view and also politically, to an extent, when he contested for the second and third time to finally lose at the hands of the then Union Minister Housing and former Lt. governor of Delhi Jagmohan. There are the number of memories still fresh in my mind when Kaka was rubbing the streets of New Delhi Parliamentary constituency on foot under the scorching sun of 43 degrees Celsius temperature, fully perspiring, while contesting. He was then just a commoner like any common man, easily accessible n to be seen conveniently but always surrounded by huge crowds. The one time Super Star of Bollywood could be usually seen waving at his electorates standing on the balconies of their houses, verandas and on roof tops. His every padayatra or Jeep Yatra enticed hundreds of his fans n followers rushing towards him to have his glance or if possible shake hands with their one-time glamorous super star.
 
The women, girls and the youths thronged in large numbers in his every padayatra n public meetings. New Delhi parliamentary constituency therefore in 1991 n thereafter, when he contested for the second time against BJP’s star candidate Shatrughan Sinha had become a star constituency with two Bollywood stars fighting against each other, trading charges n counter charges. However, Rajesh Khanna won from here defeating Shatru but the election will remain fresh in everybody’s mind, I believe. Kaka while contesting his first election against Advani operated from 15 Canning Lane, and second from the Haryana’s former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s Bungalow, 11, Teen Murti, adjacent to the house of Ahmed Patel, Sonia Gandhi’s Secretary. Bhupinder Hooda was then the MP from Haryana. He thereafter shifted to North Avenue and then to Maharashtra MP Bhonsle’s residence at Lodhi Estate. His last Bungalow, 81 Lodhi Estate which was finally allotted to him was the main centre of his political activities as an elected MP. The entire media print n electronic, particularly the foreign electronic media always trailed KAKA who remained in the media on daily basis on the front and third pages of national dailies.
 
The role of the star wives viz Poonam Sinha n Dimple Kapadia Khanna in extensive campaigning for their respective star husbands is also worth mentioning. Kaka’s daughter n actress Twinkle Khanna was also the star attraction during this historic election. It may be recalled that Kaka lost the first election in 1991 to BJP stalwart Lal Krishna Advani by merely 1500 votes but since the latter opted for his victorious Gandhi Nagar seat, Kaka contested for the second time against BJP’s Shatrughan Sinha n won by a handsome margin. Kaka had an outstandingly charming personality, fair and reddish n delicate as a flower but was strong as well as a perfectly healthy man. He was too hard working, ferocious against his political rival and never gave up during his padayatra and door to door campaigning under the scorching sun. I remember how he started his padayatra on the main roads of Cannaught Place under the scorching heat at eleven o clock, non along with his supporters and high profile Congress leaders without any ifs n buts a continued till one o clock n thereafter during the evening hours in other localities of New Delhi. The Congress leaders accompanying him in these Padyatras would get tired and leave in between but Kaka never got tired and continued with his mission victory. A super star leading a high profile lavish life style in air conditioned rooms was then a common man with boils under his feet. He visited every guru dwara, temple, mosque and church during his campaigning and evening functions of marriages, birthday parties and obituaries. Kaka never discussed films or film related talks while in politics and used to rather avoid them. He was thereafter more a politician than an outstanding actor believing in political matters and problems of his constituency, seriously.
 
Very few people know that it was Kaka who compelled the then finance minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh during PV Narasimha Rao’s tenure to enhance the income tax exemption limit to one lakh. He met Dr. Singh along with a deputation of the conglomerate of the various residential welfare associations and compelled the then Finance minister to fulfill the demand of the extension of the tax exemption limit from Rs. 60 thousand to 1 lac annually. It was fulfilled by Mr. Singh to the jubilation of the government employees who constituted a very large chunk of his New Delhi constituency. In Kaka’s victory, this factor played an extremely important role.  Kaka had then won against BJP’s star rival Shatrughan Sinha with a large number of votes.
 
SUNIL NEGI

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