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Politician or star, choice is yours
- CATCH ’EM IN THE OPEN TO CHECK OUT THEIR METTLE

Open-hood vehicles are in vogue this Lok Sabha election. Among those who have opted for them are Patna Sahib candidates Parveen Amanullah (AAP), Dr Gopal Prasad Sinha (JD-U) and Kunal Singh (Congress). They confide in Shuchismita Chakraborty of The Telegraph that the open-hood four-wheelers — hired for Rs 1,500 daily apart from fuel charges — allow them to interact with the electorate freely and gauge their reactions

Successful professionals or political veterans, voters of Patna Sahib and Pataliputra have options aplenty to choose from.

The contest in Patna Sahib is primarily between two actors, a doctor and a social activist. Bollywood hero of yesteryear Shatrughan Sinha, a graduate from Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, is the BJP candidate, while Bhojpuri star Kunal Singh is the Congress nominee. Their AAP challenger is social activist and former state minister Parveen Amanullah. The JD(U) has fielded a doctor — Gopal Prasad Sinha.

In 2004, another doctor of repute — Dr Diwakar Tejaswi — was in the fray in the Patna Sahib constituency. But he lost contesting as a candidate of Bharat Uday Mission — a party formed by professionals like him. In Pataliputra, RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s daughter Misa Bharti — an MBBS — would lock horns with the JD(U)’s Ranjan Prasad Yadav, a doctorate in geology and the BJP’s Ram Kripal Yadav — a graduate. Kundan Prasad Singh, a private pilot licence holder but only a Plus Two, is the AAP candidate. The CPM candidate, Rameshwar Prasad (67), is a non-matric.

Electors of the two constituencies are divided over who to elect — out-an-out professionals like Shatrughan and Dr Gopal, political veterans such as Ram Kripal or a greenhorn in Misa.

“A highly qualified person might have a set mindset for looking at things but a seasoned political leader would know in and out of politics. He would know the mood of the people and how to keep them satisfied and ensure votes. Politics is not about how much a person reads books. It is about how much he/she can read people’s mind,” said Ajay Kumar, a lawyer.

Dr Gopal, the JD(U) candidate in the Patna Sahib constituency, differed. He believes an MP should not only be qualified, he or she should be well read as well.

“Professionalism ensures efficiency and accuracy in every field. As a professional, I have the experience of serving people for 40 years. Naturally, I can serve the people better than the others in the fray. I also believe that merely having a BA or an MA degree does not help. One should have an intellectual mindset, and depth of knowledge in current, international and economical affairs as well to become an MP and deliver better services to the people,” said Dr Gopal.

His AAP challenger, Parveen, appeared to be on the same plane. A BSc from the famous Miranda House in Delhi, she also stressed on the education of the elected representatives. “Based on my experience as a minister, I find that education is very important for being in the government. A person is required to read and write a lot when holding any key position in the government. Gone are the days when officials used to give proper files. I have seen people manipulating documents and files, which can put the elected representatives in a trap. But well-educated people’s representatives can tackle such situations and administer better,” said Amanullah.

Her partyman and AAP candidate in Pataliputra, Kundan, differed. A private pilot licence holder having a qualification of Plus Two, Kundan claimed that higher education does not guarantee a person would be a great MP.

“There is no provision in the Constitution on minimum educational qualification of a person for contesting in the Lok Sabha election,” said 56-year-old Kundan.