Rajya Sabha Elections: Why Jaya Bachchan is the Biggest Star in This Political ‘Silsila’ – News18

The Bharatiya Janata Party may be in focus after the Rajya Sabha election results — for triggering political storm in Himachal Pradesh and emerging victorious on eight Uttar Pradesh seats — but it’s veteran actor-turned-politician Jaya Bachchan who is silently hogging the limelight.

Often spotted on social media getting ‘angry and irritated’ with paparazzi, Jaya Bachchan officially entered her fifth Rajya Sabha term as the Samajwadi Party (SP) lawmaker on Tuesday. With this, in the SP camp, she equals the record of Ram Gopal Yadav who became the first party leader to serve as a member of the Upper House five times.

Jaya Bachchan also reportedly set a record of getting the highest number of votes among all the candidates in the Rajya Sabha elections from Uttar Pradesh.

Her popularity also lies in the fact that even as the Upper House has seen many actors as its members, not many have been as active and combative as Jaya Bachchan.

According to News18 Hindi, as many as 395 voters polled for the 10 seats from UP, of which Bachchan got the maximum votes. Her impressive victory comes amid chief Akhilesh Yadav’s push for ‘PDA’, which she isn’t a part of. The term ‘PDA’ was coined by Yadav and stands for “pichre” (backward), Dalit, and “alpashankhak” (minority).

Nonetheless, Samajwadi Party’s PDA candidate Ramjilal Suman has also won the Rajya Sabha elections.

Why Samajwadi Party Chose Jaya Bachchan?

A report in India Today quoted its sources as saying that the biggest reason behind the veteran actor’s candidature is closeness with the Yadav family.

It was the party’s founder Mulayam Singh who sent her to Rajya Sabha four times. Jaya Bachchan is believed to have maintained a close relationship with the Yadav family and stood by Mulayam Singh Yadav’s side when the former party loyalist Amar Singh was kicked out of the party, the report stated.

The second reason, according to the publication, is Akhilesh Yadav’s wife, Dimple Yadav. Bachchan reportedly maintains a close tie with Dimple, and even has the support of party leader and MP Ram Gopal Yadav.

The third reason seems to be supporting women power. Bachchan’s candidature also guarantees the votes of women legislators, the party felt. The IT report quoted senior journalist and political commentator Javed Ansari as saying that since women constitute 50 per cent of the electorate, putting forth a woman candidate is in the party’s favour.

Further, the report quoted party sources as saying that an important reason behind Jaya Bachchan’s candidacy is also her celebrity status and prominence in the public sphere.

Lastly, the report quoted sources within the Samajwadi Party as saying that nominating Jaya Bachchan is favourable for the senior leaders as she does not interfere in the party’s internal affairs in any way.

She does not interfere in the party’s decision — be it the internal organisation, the distribution of tickets or the development work she has to do as a Rajya Sabha MP. However, Bachchan does not compromise on her ideas, IT sources added.

Jaya Bachchan’s Political Journey

A report in Indian Express aptly described Bachchan as a leader who is not known for taking things lying down. After her heated exchange with Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar last week, she said in her farewell speech, “I am frequently asked why I get upset. I am that way by nature; I am not changeable. I lose my temper if I don’t like or agree with something. I apologise if I offended any of you or became personal.”

The report stated that the actor-turned-politician is also one of the most active parliamentarians around. According to the legislative research body PRS, Bachchan, 75, has had an attendance of 82% in the Upper House between 2009 and 2024, three percentage points higher than the national average of 79%. However, it is a percentage point lower than the average for UP, the state she represents.

As against a national average of 199.7 for participation in Rajya Sabha debates, the actor has taken part in 292 debates between 2009 and 2024, significantly higher than UP’s average of 193.8 on this parameter.

Bachchan has not introduced any Private Members’ Bill to date. She asked 451 questions during Question Hour in this period as against a national and state average of 667.02 and 598.07, respectively, IE stated.

Bachchan has not missed a single sitting of the Rajya Sabha from the Monsoon Session of 2023 until the recently concluded Budget Session, the publication mentioned.

In the course of her four Rajya Sabha terms so far, Bachchan has spoken on a range of issues such as the safety of women and their rights, street children, most polluted cities, politicisation of religion in the country, controversial statements by people in public office, need to criminalise marital rape, suicides and mental health issues, demand to confer Bharat Ratna on Mirza Ghalib, and the need to eliminate creamy layer consideration in reservation for people of backward classes.

Bachchan has also found herself in several controversies. During a discussion on the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Amendment) Bill in 2021, when questioned about the summons sent to her daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in the Panama Papers case, she said, “Your bad days will be here soon… I curse you.” She then went on to call out the Chair for not listening to the Opposition.

In September 2020, amid a row following the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, Bachchan gave a Zero Hour notice in the House to discuss “the alleged conspiracy to defame the film industry”.