Sunny Deol, Gautam Gambhir and Urmila Matondkar. (File Photo)
New Delhi :
The 2019 Lok Sabha elections have been a star-studded affair with many B-town celebs and sports personalities throwing their cap into the political fray. While some of them – like cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir, actor-turned-politician Urmila Matondkar, and Sunny Deol – are making their electoral debut, there are others who are seeking re-election. As we anxiously wait for election results, let’s have a look at some of the celebrity candidates whose fate has been sealed in the EVMs.
1. Gautam Gambhir: Topping the list of celeb candidates is former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir who is contesting on a BJP ticket from East Delhi Lok Sabha seat. The 37-year-old, who is also a recipient of the Padma Shri award - the fourth highest civilian award, has represented India in several international matches and played a key role in India’s win in the 2011 World Cup. Known for his ‘straight forward’ remarks, Gambhir is contesting against Atishi from Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Arvinder Singh Lovely from Congress.
2. Urmila Matondkar: The Mumbai North Lok Sabha seat was one where the Congress was reportedly unable to zero in on a candidate to take on sitting MP Gopal Shetty, but the entry of actor Urmila Matondkar has now brought in more than a semblance of a contest.
Mumbai North parliamentary seat is among the BJP's strongest seats in the state, and Shetty, a former corporator and multiple-time MLA, had defeated former Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam in the 2014 general election by 4.46 lakh votes, among the widest margins in the country. The morale of Congress workers is jubilant after her entry into the electoral fray.
3. Hema Malini: Fighting for the Mathura Lok Sabha seat on a BJP ticket, the sitting MP and film actor Hema Malini is a billionaire with the value of her assets having increased by a whopping Rs 34.46 crore in the last five years. Before being elected as Mathura MP in 2014, Hema Malini was a Rajya Sabha MP twice, first from 2003 to 2009 and then from 2011 to 2012.
Hema Malini, who got a Ph.D. degree in 2012 from Padampati Singhania University at Udaipur, was awarded Padma Shri by the Union government for her contribution to the field of arts and theatre.
4. Babul Supriyo: Union Minister Babul Supriyo would fight to retain Asansol. Singer-actor-turned politician Supriyo would be up against yesteryear's actress Moon Moon Sen and CPI-M's Gouranga Chatterjee. The BJP breached the Left bastion of Asansol in 2014 for the first time. He defeated Trinamool candidate Dola Sen by over 70,000 votes in 2014. Before 2014. the CPM won the seat eight times in a row in 1989, 1991, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2004, 2005 (bypoll) and 2009.
5. Moon Moon Sen: Yesteryears' actress and Trinamool Congress MP from Bankura, Moon Moon Sen is now contesting the Lok Sabha polls from West Bengal's Asansol seat. Sen, daughter of legendary Bengali film actress Suchitra Sen, holds a post-graduate degree in comparative literature from Jadavpur University. An Oxford alumnus, Moon Moon's bikini-clad onscreen romps once brought men to their knees.
She entered parliamentary politics with a bang in 2014, upsetting CPI-M veteran Basudeb Acharia - a nine-time MP - in Bankura.
6. Vijender Singh: Boxer Vijender Singh, who won the bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, is contesting Lok Sabha Elections on Congress ticket from the South Delhi parliamentary constituency. He will take on BJP's sitting MP Ramesh Bidhuri and AAP's Raghav Chadha.
In 2015, Vijender turned a professional boxer under the WBO banner and has performed excellently since then -- winning 10 bouts in a row. On July 16, 2016, Vijender took on Kerry Hope of Australia at Delhi's Thyagaraj Sports Complex and Rahul Gandhi was present to watch the keenly fought bout.
7. Dinesh Lal Yadav Nirahua: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded Dinesh Lal Yadav Nirahua, a Bhojpuri star, against former chief minister and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav. Interestingly, Yadav had conferred Nirahua with the prestigious Yash Bharati award in 2016.
Nirahua had joined the BJP in March 2019, after the Election Commission announced the dates of the Lok Sabha Election 2019.
8. Sunny Deol: Actor Sunny Deol has been fielded by the BJP as its candidate from Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat in Punjab. 62-year-old Deol, who has played the lead role in blockbusters such as 'Ghayal', 'Gadar' and 'Border', is the second member of the family after his stepmother Hema Malini, the BJP candidate renominated from Mathura. His father Dharmendra was BJP MP from Bikaner in 2004.
Deol will take on Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar from Gurdaspur, which was in the past represented by the late actor Vinod Khanna from the BJP.
9. Pawan Kalyan: Popular as a 'power star' in Telugu film circles, Pawan Kalyan and Jana Sena Party, founded by him, are making their electoral debut. The 50-year-old leading actor is contesting the elections from two Assembly constituencies - Gajuwaka in Visakhapatnam and Bhimavaram in West Godavari district. In both the constituencies, he is facing outgoing MLAs of ruling TDP. In 2014, Pawan had only campaigned for the TDP-BJP combine.
10. Manoj Tiwari: Delhi BJP chief is seeking re-election from North East Parliamentary seat in the national capital. Tiwari, who spent years as a singer and an actor in the Bhojpuri film industry, first contested elections in 2009 as a candidate for the Samajwadi Party in the Gorakhpur constituency.
11. Hans raj Hanj: The BJP has fielded singer Hans Raj Hans from North-West Delhi, denying ticket to incumbent MP Udit Raj. Hans will take on Guggan Singh of the AAP and Rajesh Lilothia of the Congress. The AAP has accused Hans of allegedly converting to Islam in 2014, and said he cannot contest the general election from the North West Delhi reserved seat. Hans has refused the charge and said he would have been ousted by his own family if he had converted his religion.
12. Shatrughan Sinha: Actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha, who switched from the BJP to the Congress recently, is contesting against Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad from the Patna Sahib constituency in Bihar. 72-year-old Sinha, the incumbent MP from the seat, switched side after being denied ticket by the BJP.
Sinha ended his nearly three decades long association with BJP earlier this month after remaining at loggerheads with the current party leadership for quite some time.
13. Kirron Kher: Sitting MP from Chandigarh Kirron Kher has been renominated by the Bharatiya Janata Party. She is seeking re-election from the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat and is pitted against four-time MP and Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal and AAP's Harmohan Dhawan.
In 2014, Kher defeated former Pawan Kumar Bansal by nearly 70,000 votes.
14. Mimi Chakraborty: Trinamool Congress has fielded Mimi Chakrobarty from the prestigious Jadavpur parliamentary constituency in West Bengal. The 30-year-old Bengali film-star Mimi Chakraborty faces a stiff challenge from former Kolkata mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya of the CPI(M).
TMC this time fielded Chakraborty in place of Sugata Bose, a Harvard professor who won the seat for the party in 2014. TMC had won the seat in 2009 too, when singer and poet Kabir Suman was its candidate.
15. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore: Union minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who took voluntary retirement from the Indian Army in 2013 to join politics, is contesting the Lok Sabha elections for the second time. The party has retained him on the Jaipur rural Parliamentary constituency where the Congress has fielded Olympian and discus thrower Krishna Poonia against him. The 49-year-old Olympic silver medallist was sworn-in as the Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting, under the Narendra Modi government. He was appointed as the Minister of Sports on 3 September 2017. In May 2018, he became Minister of State (I/C) for Information & Broadcasting.