The writer profiles Chirag Paswan.
Political dynasties are to Indian politics what formula flicks are to Bollywood. Actor-turned-politician Chirag Paswan strides both the worlds.
The son of Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader Ram Vilas Paswan recently stole the limelight by scripting a new political chapter for his party, steering it towards an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party. A while ago, it seemed that 32-year-old Paswan was going taking a different path when he dropped out of college and headed to Mumbai to try his luck in Bollywood. “Going to Bollywood was a dream I followed. I have always wanted to see myself on the big screen. But politics comes naturally to me. I have an institution at home: my father,” he said.
While his debut film sank at the box office, his father’s party back home in Bihar was on the brink of extinction. “The party needed him; the workers felt he should join politics. It was the need of the hour,” said Jogender Paswan, close to Paswan family.
In just a year, Chirag switched his passion for cinema to politics. The former actor describes this jump as an “effortless and smooth transition.” “After Maharajganj (when he campaigned for the Rashtriya Janata Dal candidate), I realised that I was already in politics. Bollywood and politics are similar in that they are mass driven. The difference is that politics has a direct connection whereas cinema has a wired connection,” he said.
Soon, Chirag was made the chairman of the party’s parliamentary board and is set to make his debut from the Janui (SC) Lok Sabha constituency. The remote Naxal-dominated district is among the most backward districts of Bihar. Chirag, who inherits his father’s socialist legacy of backward class assertion, subscribes to a different and dominant political narrative of development. “I do not believe in politics of caste, class, religion or region. But, yes, there is a situation where the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer. I had everything in Mumbai. I led a life of luxury. But I believe I have an honest intention to serve people. I have always said that we have netas (leaders) and niti (policies), but no niyat (outlook),” he said.
But not all are happy with his move. “He is going to make no difference. His film career flopped, so he was pulled into politics,” said Surya Narayan Yadav, a disgruntled party leader.
Would he want to go back to Bollywood? “There is no turning back,” he replied. “Politics cannot be a part-time job. It requires commitment and dedication.”
Party: Lok Janshakti Party
Constituency: Jamui (SC)
Claim to fame: Ram Vilas Paswan’s son, dabbled in Bollywood