'There is an effort to categorize me as just a comedian,' says Jagadish.

Im no political novice an interview with actor Jagadish
news Kerala Polls 2016 Saturday, April 16, 2016 - 11:20

Little did Mollywood actor PV Jagadish Kumar think he would be made to eat his own words when he had declared on prime time television that he would never contest an assembly election. You can watch it here.

Ironically he has been fielded as the UDF candidate to take on 3-time sitting MLA KB Ganesh Kumar -who is himself an actor- from the Pathanapuram constituency in the assembly elections due to be held on May 16 in Kerala.

Catching up with him just outside the Buffalo Breeding Farm at the Piravanthoor panchayat in Pathanapuram, Jagadish however seems utterly unfazed by the severe trolling this apparently contradictory stance has generated online.

Speaking to TNM, he flashes his trademark mischievous grin and says: “When I made that statement on television, what I meant was I had no dreams of becoming an MLA as I have always aspired to be a Member of Parliament. But then given the changing political equations in the state, the party convinced me that by contesting the assembly elections this time, I would prove to be of more service to the people here. And then they needed someone who could prove to be a worthy opponent to Ganesh who so opportunistically shifted allegiance to the Left. So who could have been a better choice other than me in this regard?”

Responding to a query on whether his being a novice in the political scenario would weigh against him, Jagadish retorts: “Who said I’m a novice? Right from my college days, I’ve been very actively involved in politics. I had canvassed for almost 40 UDF candidates in the last parliamentary elections. In fact -at that time- my name was considered for Kollam to take on CPI(M) veteran MA Baby but then NK Premachandran stood a better chance to win, so it was given to him.”

This MCom first rank holder had been the Arts Club Secretary of the Thiruvananthapuram  Government Arts College during his undergraduate days. While pursuing his post graduation at the Mar Ivanios College in the capital city, he had also held the post of the College Union Chairman.

Hailing from Thiruvananthapuram, he had recently shifted to Pathanapuram with an eye on the upcoming elections. When asked whether he was a votary for minimum educational qualification for all political candidates, Jagadish believes that having an educational degree would undoubtedly prove to be an added impetus, but then someone backed by life-experiences too would prove to be a good political leader, as he or she is sure to know the pulse of the people.

Break from acting

There are talks about him taking a complete break from filmdom doing the rounds now to which he responds: “I have just wrapped up shooting for Malayalam movies ‘Kasaba’ with Mammootty in the lead and ‘Karinkunnam Sixes’ with Manju Warrier in the lead. So my present crop of commitments is all over. I would like to continue with my TV shows provided these don’t interfere with my work for the constituency. I would like to devote 90% of my time to the development of Pathanapuram and its residents, and the remaining 10% can be set aside for my creative ventures.”

When asked whether he would rope in his celebrity colleagues to campaign for him, he said he would rather prefer to have his students come out in large numbers to canvass votes for him.

He has donned multiple roles in his professional capacity too beginning as a bank officer and then a college lecturer for nine years, following which he chose to concentrate on acting alone.

His opponent and former transport minister in the ruling Oommen Chandy government, Ganesh Kumar has represented Pathanapuram for the last 15 years. Faced with allegations of domestic violence, Ganesh was forced to resign, after which he switched loyalties to the LDF.

Ganesh was recently in the news for having cast aspersions on Jagadish’s character for having failed to attend his own father’s funeral. 

Speaking about the issue, Jagadish clarifies: “That was downright cruel. I am someone who is very close to my parents. This happened in 1999. Unlike what Ganesh said, I was in Canada -not Dubai- at that time as part of a large troupe which also included Srinivasan (another popular Mollywood actor and scriptwriter) who knows exactly what happened at that time. Srinivasan himself will come out with a statement on what exactly had transpired then.”

“Ganesh wanted to restrict my persona to just that of a mere comedian. Without making comparisons, I have a better track record, a clean image and someone who very much cherishes family values. I’m also a firm believer in women empowerment,” he adds.

Why would the voters want to choose him over Ganesh?

“Well, the moment he switched sides, he should have stepped down as an MLA, given that he had won as an UDF candidate all the three times he contested from here. No one wants a dormant or an absent MLA. Personal or family issues cannot be an excuse for not fulfilling electoral promises. I’m not saying no development has been made here, but then much more could have been done in the span of fifteen years. There is no primary health center here. The taluk hospital has not been upgraded in ages. Rubber-based industry is all what we have here. We could develop tourism as an industry in a big way here. The roads are just about satisfactory. And then there is the perennial issue of water-shortage.”

And how does he plan to tackle these issues?

“I am a go-getter. You need to liaise with so many people to get things done. I will work tirelessly to project the needs of my constituency to the Chief Minister and all those in charge. I have a clear idea about all that I need to do for the upkeep of my constituency and also the manner in which it ought to be done. Funds can be mobilized through not just the government but also through the NRI network. We need to just have the impetus to get it done that and I definitely have it in me,” he affirms.

Corruptions charges against the ruling front of which he is now a candidate 

Jagadish is quick to reiterate that all such corruption charges are allegations against individuals and not the state government per se: “Who brought the central character of the solar case to the political arena of Kerala?” taking an oblique dig at Ganesh.

According to him, it was not the state exchequer which benefited from the bar bribery scam but a political party. Though he did not name the Congress party, he said that it was usual for all political parties to accept donations at the time of elections and not a single party in the state could be cited as an exception.

And at the end of the day, he too stood by his party line that all bars in Kerala had to be shut down and mere abstention would not serve the purpose.

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