Sharmistha Mukherjee, well known classical dancer and daughter of Honourable President of Republic of India Pranab Mukherjee. She is declared as candidate in coming election by India National Congress from Greater Kailash Assembly constituency and going through a very punishing daily schedule these days. She is going from one place to another place in her constituency delivering speeches to public meetings, taking her interactive “Sawal Jawab” sessions, Door to door campaigning also to give hopes to the people who are aliened to other parties.
Before 6-7 months nobody thought that they will see another member of Mukherjee family into politics. From last few months she is doing her campaign in Greater Kailash Assembly constituency. We will surly see a tough fight at this constituency which is held by AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj in last election. Here is a detailed interview of her with Aditya Sharma.
Aditya Sharma: You are a well established Indian Classical Dancer and choreographer. What motivates you instantly to join politics? From now what you want us to call you a classical dancer cum politician or just Politician (If you are going to quit dance from now and stay in politics forever).
Sharmistha Mukherjee: I believe in Congress and what it stands for: liberalism, pluralism, balanced and inclusive growth; a political ideology which accommodates multiple and diverse voices reflective of the true spirit of India. I felt that people who truly believe in this ideology should come forward now and try to contribute in whatever little way they can. I haven’t joined politics for the lure of power. If my motivation was to just become an MP or MLA, I would have joined much before when things would have probably been far easier for me. For me, power is not a privilege, but a responsibility to fulfil your duties and obligations to people who have bestowed their faith in you. My motivation is that I believe that Congress is going to re-emerge even stronger and I want to be part of that process.
I don’t plan to give up my dance completely, but it’s going to take a back seat. It’s completely up to you whatever you want to call me.
Aditya: You joined a party which is recently going through a very bad phase in the whole country. Even many exit polls are saying that your party is nowhere in the fight in this election. I know your party does not believe in exit polls. Do you think you can somehow manage to win the trust of people at-least in your constituency?
Sharmistha: I’m confident that I’ve already won the trust of a large number of people in my constituency. My style of campaigning, which I’ve been doing for quite some time now is to have interactive sessions with smaller groups. In these sessions, I could feel the shift from initial resistance to warm, friendly and trusting attitude.
Aditya: Kiran Bedi joins Delhi BJP and their face for election and Arvind Kejriwal both came from public movement, having clean image in public. After last time defeat your party also declared Ex Union Minister Ajay Maken their face for election despite Arvinder Singh Lovely. Does your party leadership lost faith in lovely’s leadership?
Sharmistha: Mr. Maken’s and Mr. Lovely’s roles and field of responsibility are different. Mr. Lovely is still in charge of DPCC and continues to do so. So where’s the question of party leadership losing faith in him?
Aditya: You said in one of your recent statement that in your constituency the fight is between Congress and BJP, AAP is not a big factor here. BJP is yet to declare its candidate but meanwhile you are fighting against Former minister Saurabh Bharadwaj who also a clean face in politics. How can you ignore an ex MLA so casually?
Sharmistha: Just a clean face is not enough, you also need to deliver. People in my constituency are disappointed with AAP’s tall promises and no delivery, their running away from responsibility; and an elected Chief Minister who swore to abide by the Constitution yet betrayed it by calling himself an anarchist. In all my interactive sessions with people, I faced the question how am I going to counter the Modi wave, not how am I going to face Mr. Bhardwaj. My observation is based on my personal experience.
Aditya: So, you consider that there is some Modi wave in Delhi also which top leaders of your party do not believe. How do you fight with that wave of Modi as well as Kiran Bedi?
Sharmistha: That’s the question my voters ask and it reflects their perception, not mine. As in nature, all waves reach a peak and start coming down. Modi wave has already reached it’s peak, now the time is for coming down. Also I’m not contesting against Mr. Modi, but against the local BJP candidate. If there’s a local problem in the constituency, Mr. Modi is not going to come and solve it. It’s the responsibility of the local representative to address the issue.
Why Kiran Bedi? I don’t think there’s any Kiran Bedi wave even remotely. She is just another candidate, albeit a high profile one.
Aditya: During the election we found one missing person in your campaigning team vice president of congress Rahul Gandhi. Last time when congress lost their election in Delhi Rahul said that we will learn from AAP. Did he finished his learning or after losing in various elections he don’t want to implements his learnings in this election?
Sharmistha: The Vice President of such a large political party like Congress or even BJP, doesn’t usually strategize with a newcomer. So you have to ask this question to Mr. Gandhi himself. I’m not authorized to speak on his behalf.
Aditya: One last but not the least question about your self people of Delhi as well as India has not seen you so much in public life. They still know you as daughter of India’s President and sister of a MP. Anything you want to tell people of Delhi and India about yourself and about you vision for Delhi?
Sharmistha: Many people of Delhi, India, and even abroad, those who are interested in Classical dance and music, know about me very well. Unfortunately classical dance lacks the glamour quotient of Bollywood, popularity of cricket or the power associated with bureaucracy and politics. Hence it’s difficult to become a “celebrity” even if you are extremely successful in your profession. I wonder how many of your readers who are not interested in classical dance or music would be able to tell the names of just five legendary classical dancers of India. However, if anyone is interested in knowing about me can simply do a google search by my name. My vision about Delhi is simple: stable government, safety and security for women and senior citizens, overall development and upgradation of the basic amenities, better traffic control, pollution control, conservation of historical monuments and sites; a city with all the modern amenities yet proud of its heritage, the Capital of a modern nation but an ancient civilization.