“When you’re in power, you are public servants, not rulers.”

Veteran actor Nana Patekar made some telling observations and asked several tough questions on corruption and decorum in public life during a conversation with Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at the Lokmat Maharashtrian of the Year award ceremony in Mumbai recently.

Patekar’s sharpest question was on why political parties pick those with criminal charges against them as electoral candidates. Fadnavis’s explanation was that these are the people who win elections. “If I field a candidate of clean character, his deposit is forfeited,” Fadnavis said. “This can’t be changed by politicians alone, society has to change.” He added that politicians also must realise the need for such change.

Patekar also commented on the rampant use of derogatory language and abuses in politics today. “The words I use reflect my culture, my upbringing,” he said. “If limits are not maintained, what sort of example are we setting before our children?” In reply, Shinde said he never abuses anyone. “I don’t know how to talk by crossing the limit,” he said.

Watch the full conversation, which took place in Marathi: