BENGALURU: Shhh!… albeit sans the horror or suspense of the 1993 movie, Upendra’s political direction has been silenced after his big bang entry in October last year. Backstabbed by his own people, Uppi was forced to quit Karnataka Pragnyavanta Janata Paksha (KPJP) within five months.
He had entered politics with grand plans of changing governance and contesting this assembly election by putting up candidates in all 224 seats. But, with his ouster from KPJP and his new party yet to see light of day, he may have to wait till the 2019 to enter electoral battle, that too if he is able to put a party structure in place.
Although he failed to get the hotch potch recipe of politics right, Uppi is still optimistic after a meeting with the Election Commission in Delhi. “With the registration of my new party ‘Prajakeeya’ by the end of this month, I will prepare for the elections next year,” he says, disappointment of missing an opportunity to take part in the 2018 assembly elections, hanging heavily in his tone.
Upendra, who promised (perhaps too naively) transparency in every sphere from electoral process to governance, says that he is unable to come to terms with the ideals of other parties to either contest on their ticket or even campaign for them.
“It is a big challenge to form and build a party with people who have convictions and share your concerns. The KPJP fizzled out as around 30-35 people were involved in selling tickets to dubious candidates. It’s better to fall now in the initial stages than take the shock of the party breaking up later. However, I am happy that 100 people are still with me and share my beliefs,” he says.
Beginning a new chapter this month, he says that he is prepared to forget what happened over last six months. “My hopes have been dashed but it is a temporary setback. I too would have become corrupt if I had gone with KPJP and contested as per their diktats For me, electoral and societal reforms are important and therefore I removed ‘Raja’ and put ‘Praja’ for the new party,” he says.
He knows drastic changes will take time and that he will meet with many pitfalls. “There is corruption in every form and level. There is no scope for merit or efficiency and only money seems to work for getting a ticket. The victory of a contestant depends on caste or money power,” he says.
Uppi will make time for movies. He says, “How much time one needs for social service, even if I can devote 3-4 hours, it will be enough to prepare for the elections next year. One has to earn money otherwise where will I get money for the political career ?”
The Uppi Exit
Just as the state was gearing up for the 2018 Assembly elections, Upendra announced his resignation from the party he had formed last year after internal dissensions in the six month old outfit. On March 6, the visibly upset star said, “I have tendered my resignation to Karnataka Pragnyavanta Janata Party (KPJP). But I will soon register my new party ‘Prajakeeya’ and will contest in the upcoming state elections.” The 49-year-old star-turned-politician had launched the party in October 2017 but ironically it was registered in the name of Mahesh Gowda, the party chief general secretary who called him a dictator.
With differences exposed so early on the issue of distribution of tickets and Upendra alleging selling of tickets to candidates, it was an abrupt departure for the star who had dreamed of contesting and putting up his own candidates. This multi-lingual filmmaker has made a mark in both Kannada and Telugu films through his unusual roles, screen plays and direction. One of the highest paid actor-director in Sandalwood, he has made movies that have done well at the box office and won
laurels at the state and national levels.