The Telegraph
Sunday , April 13 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

Drive for poll body a damper

- EC ambassadors get little publicity and no money
(Top) An Election Commission hoarding featuring Buddhaditya Mohanty, Archita Sahoo, Sudarsan Patnaik and Shruti Mohapatra and (above) actor Anubhav Mohanty campaigns in Berhampur for the BJD. Telegraph pictures

Bhubaneswar, April 12: The election has brought with it, for many small and big artistes, either promises of a bright political career or, as rumours have it, loads of money for campaigning. But a few renowned faces missed out on the opportunity.

Opting for the cause of spreading awareness about the importance of voting on behalf of the Election Commission, some of the famous young celebrities could not cash in on jumping into the political brigade at a time when parties were looking for all kinds of small and big stars.

Sources in the film industry said that for every appearance in a political rally, celebrities were paid anywhere between Rs 50,000 to a few lakhs, depending on the popularity of the person, who could be a television personality or a film star or a big name from a different field. Apart from just campaigning, even lesser-known artistes have been roped in as members of parties.

But popular heroine Archita, actor and TV show host Buddhaditya and famous sand artist Sudarsan Patnaik are nowhere to be seen except for a couple of hardly visible hoardings put up by the Election Commission.

The artistes, whom the commission promised tireless engagement in awareness campaigns in all districts, meeting their fans and convincing them about casting votes, have hardly been used in any awareness activity conducted by the poll body.

“We are nowhere to be seen while artistes, who are not as popular as us, have chosen to go around the city in open jeeps to attract crowds for politicians, whom they probably do not even actually support, for the sake of money. And here we are, who chose a nobler cause and were forgotten,” said one of the artistes.

The artistes had joined as ambassadors of the Election Commission around last December during the municipal polls. Since they joined as goodwill ambassadors, they did not receive any payment.

“I wish we were at least regularly taken on tours to meet the people, who have showered their affection on us. We would have gladly taken out time but not much was done in the name of spreading awareness for voting,” said Sudarsan Patnaik.

While sources in political parties said he was approached for tickets of the Rajya Sabha as well as the Assembly, Patnaik had to decline the offers because he was a goodwill ambassador of the Election Commission.

“The celebrities, who are our ambassadors, are not paid for this awareness campaign. They are also not allowed to take part in political campaigns or join political parties. We have involved them a couple if times in voters’ awareness camps,” said J.P. Das, deputy chief electoral officer.

Budhaditya is now in Mumbai and Archita on a holiday outside the state. Patnaik is busy with his sand art in Puri.

 More stories in Front Page

  • Bomb and bear exact poll price
  • Generation battle in Pataliputra
  • Special observer on table
  • Drive for poll body a damper
  • Polls peaceful in all 4 NE seats
  • Cop who grabbed beast by its throat