Former actor Urmila Matondkar speaks during a press conference after joining the Shiv Sena in Mumbai on December 1, 2020.(AFP)
Former actor Urmila Matondkar speaks during a press conference after joining the Shiv Sena in Mumbai on December 1, 2020.(AFP)

Asked to comment on Kangana Ranaut, Shiv Sainik Urmila Matondkar responds

Urmila Matondkar, who had quit the Congress after contesting the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, said she was impressed by the work undertaken by Uddhav Thackeray and his government.
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON DEC 02, 2020 11:18 AM IST

Actor-turned-politician Urmila Matondkar on Tuesday joined the Shiv Sena, nearly a month after her name was proposed by the party for one of the 12 nominated seats in the Maharashtra legislative Council, and one among the several questions put to her was about actor Kangana Ranaut, who had called her a “soft porn star”.

Matondkar declined to speak on the war of words between actor Kangana Ranaut and Shiv Sena leaders, underscoring she is not Kangana’s “fan”.

“I think much has been spoken on Kangana. No need to give her that much importance now. Everybody has the right and freedom to criticise, she is free to do it. I wish to clear this today that I never responded to her [Kangana] in my interview [earlier],” she said.

Senior Sena leaders said that the party leadership was impressed with the manner in which Matondkar took on actor Kangana Ranaut when the latter and the Sena were locked in a war of words after Ranaut equated Mumbai to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Also Watch l Actor & former Congress leader Urmila Matondkar joins Shiv Sena 

The former Congress leader, who had quit the party after contesting the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, said she was impressed by the work undertaken by Uddhav Thackeray and his government.

Thackeray’s wife Rashmi tied the ‘shiv bandhan’ (a saffron thread) to formally induct Matondkar in the party. Held at the CM’s residence Matoshree, the event was attended by Thackeray and other senior leaders like Subhash Desai, Anil Desai, Aadesh Bandekar, among others.

“It has been 14 months since I quit Congress and not 14 hours. There is a huge difference when people quit a party and immediately join another. But I think Maha [Vikas] Aghadi government has done a praiseworthy job in the state. They got only three months of normal working [before pandemic]. Uddhav ji has steered the state very well. He shows strength where needed and speaks to us like a family member when required,” said Matondkar while speaking to a posse of reporters after joining the party.

The actor defended her switch from Congress to a hardline Hindutva party and said that she has been close to Hindu religion but never needed to “tom-tom” it.

“Hindutva doesn’t mean hating other religions. I am a Hindu by birth and my actions. I can speak a lot about religion as I have studied it. Never needed to speak about it,” she said.

Responding to a question on how long will her new political stint last, considering she joined and quit the Congress party within a few months in 2019, she said, “When I quit the Congress party, I quit the party but not politics. See my letter [written to the party], I had said that I will continue to work for the people. I will continue working for the people from the grassroots,” he said.

Speaking about Thackeray recommending her name as one of the 12 nominated members, she said, “Uddhav ji called and told me a beautiful thing that he wanted to uphold the social and cultural standard of Vidhan Bhavan. He said that he needed people like me. I consider myself fortunate.” She said that she was offered an MLC seat by the Congress but she declined it.

Matondkar had unsuccessfully contested the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from Mumbai North constituency on a Congress ticket. In September 2019, she quit the Congress, stating that her efforts to work for the betterment of the party did not find support.

Matondkar will help the Sena spread its message on a national platform, say party leaders.

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