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    I am not enjoying politics: Dharmendra

    [Interview by Liz Mathew]
    Monday, March 21, 2005
    Actor-turned-MP Dharmendra, who has often been criticized for skipping parliament and not showing up in his constituency, says his actions speak louder than words.

    "I am doing my job. I do not believe in asking questions or raising issues (in parliament) to be noticed by the media and other MPs," the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politician and onetime cult hero told IANS in an interview inside Parliament House.
    Dharmendra's long absence from his constituency in Bikaner, Rajasthan after winning the elections in May last year has drawn much adverse comment from constituents. He is also rarely spotted in parliament.
    But Dharmendra justifies his poor Lok Sabha attendance by saying: "I find the queries (during question hour) meaningless and the answers disappointing. I would rather spend time getting things done for my voters."
    According to him, he has been meeting central ministers in person to put up the demands for his constituency. "Some ministers have become good friends. They are very cooperative and meet all my requests. Ministers like Santosh Mohan Dev (heavy industries) are friends," he says.
    Like choosing films, Dharmendra has probably concluded that one must also be selective in attending parliament.
    "I check the list of business in the morning and come to the house when there is some solid development," says the veteran actor who made a debut in films with "Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere" in 1960.
    Dharmendra remained a popular hero for almost three decades before taking to character roles.
    Born to Dharam Singh Deol in Phagwara, Punjab, in 1935, Dharmendra took to action films along with romantic roles early in his career. He joined the BJP in March last year ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
    Does he enjoy life as a politician? "Acting was enjoyment. It's (politics) a new field and I don't find myself enjoying much. I would rather see it as work," he says candidly.
    And if politics is work, Dharmendra seems to be tired already. "I may not contest the next election. But (for) this time, I will work for my constituency."
    Dharmendra, dressed in an olive green shirt and light-colored trousers, is evasive when asked if he feels jealous of the media attention that wife and Rajya Sabha member Hema Malini gets.
    "All human beings want attention. Of course I have had a lot (of attention) in the past 40 years. It's quite natural," he says.
    Despite the brickbats of late, Dharmendra recognizes the role of the media in his success.
    "I proudly say that I am a product of the media. I would not have become an actor if Filmfare (magazine) was not there. I owe my success to the media," he says.


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