Ahmedabad: In a significant development famous dancer Mallika Sarabhai has joined the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Mallika Sarabhai has been a vocal critic of Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP's PM candidate Narendra Modi. She has been in the forefront of attack on Modi. She had unsuccessfully contested against BJP leader LK Advani in 2009 Lok Sabha polls from Gandhinagar. She lost her deposit in the election. Mallika is not new to politics. She was offered a ticket from the Congress in 1984. The then Prime Minister Rajeev Gandhi himself had offered her a political role.
60-year-old Mallika is the daughter of father of India's space science Dr. Vikram Sarabhai and Mrinalini Sarabhai. Mallika Sarabhai has done MBA from IIM- Ahmedabad and has also done a doctorate from Gujarat University.
Mallika is considered an outstanding Bharata Natyam and Kuchipudi dancer. She played the role of Draupadi in Peter Brook's 'The Mahabharata' for 5 years, first on French and then English. She started her solo theatrical works 'Shakti' in 1989.
On the counting day of votes (December 8) the AAP had just 7500 members in Gujarat. It has now gone up to over 1 lakh.
Mallika Sarabhai profile:
Dansuese, actor, choreographer, IIM-A Alumnus, activist, and now Mallika Sarabhai, the politician. It's the first time she has associated herself with a political outfit and declares - If there's one party that can take on Modi in his own backyard. It's the Aam Aadmi Party.
And although she says that the AAP stands for all that is democratic and for the values enshrined in the constitution, Mallika's joining the AAP clearly stems out from a deep anger and a personal grudge against Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP's PM candidate Narendra Modi.
Mallika's acute dislike for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has been evident through the past decade. It began with the meeting organised by her at the Sabarmati Ashram after the post Godhra riots. Several activists, including Medha Patkar were assaulted and beaten up, allegedly by BJP Yuva Morcha members. She was also the first to file a Public Interest Litigation in the Supreme Court over the horrific 2002 communal riots in Gujarat.
Within the next few months, a complaint was registered against the noted danseuse, alleging that she was indulging in human trafficking. The charge against her was that she illegally took people to the US and other countries under the garb of being performing artists of her dance academy - the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts. The complaint however was quashed and she was given a clean chit.
In the 2009 general elections, Mallika contested against BJP patriarch LK Advani from Gandhinagar seat. And although she lost the election by a sizable margin, contesting as an independent candidate, Sarabhai made a political point. Advani yielded huge political clout then and was also close to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Then came Modi's much talked of Sadbhavana Mission. On the very day that Modi embarked on his Sadbhavana fast, Mallika Sarabhai and her supporters played out their own version of Sadbhavana. Having cooked up a hot meal in huge utensils, they reached the slums of Ahmedabad and fed the poor and homeless. She dared Modi to go and meet the homeless and offer them shelter if his 'sadbhavana' was indeed genuine.
Mallika has also been on the forefront of activism against the Modi government. Under the banner of CRANTI - Citizens Resource and Action Initiative - Mallika has campaigned for the cause and protection of RTI activists across the state. The group has also been working towards ensuring basic amenities for people living in slums and hutments.
Born to illustrious parents - father Vikram Sarabhai was a noted scientist and mother Mrinalini is an acclaimed dancer - Mallika Sarabhai has several achievements to her credit. But her innings as a politician will be watched as keenly as one of her classical dance performances. After all, she's pledged to put a spoke in the Modi wheel. At least in Gujarat. It's indeed a tough task. A task which the Congress has tried to do and failed miserably in the past decade.