Lok Sabha elections 2019: Urmila Matondkar is Congress’ Mumbai North star pick
The actor, who formally joined the Congress on March 27, will take on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) sitting MP Gopal Shetty on April 29.Updated: Mar 30, 2019 02:17 IST
The Congress on Friday announced the candidature of actor Urmila Matondkar from Mumbai North constituency, considered the toughest seat for the party in Mumbai.
The actor, who formally joined the Congress on March 27, will take on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) sitting MP Gopal Shetty on April 29.
Mumbai Congress chief Milind Deora and former MP Sanjay Nirupam were present at an event in Borivli, where her candidature was announced.
Matondkar said she was in the fray to bring back the “governance of tolerance and not of hatred, as is prevalent now.” In an appeal to voters, she said, “If someone asks why are you backing a star, tell them that there is only one star in democracy and it is the public.”
Spread across the western suburbs, the constituency has a large number of Maharashtrian, Gujarati and north Indian voters.
The Congress is hoping that Matondkar will be able to get a significant chunk of Maharashtrian voters, in addition to its traditional votes from the area.
Although the BJP won the seat with a heavy margin in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, it has never been a stronghold of either party, as every election, the voters spring a surprise.
The seat was initially offered to Congress leader and former MP from the constituency, Sanjay Nirupam, but he declined to contest . Nirupam will contest from the adjoining Mumbai North West constituency.
This is not the first time the Congress has attempted to use star power in Mumbai North.
In 2004, it had fielded actor Govinda, who had, in a major upset, defeated BJP leader and former Union petroleum minister Ram Naik .
When asked about Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his leadership , Matondkar said, “I think he will be an ideal leader for this country. He is connected, rooted and believes in taking everybody along with him. He doesn’t act like a ‘know-it-all’.”
Speaking about Matondkar’s induction into the party, Nirupam likened her to the late actor and former Congress MP Sunil Dutt, claiming she is the “only politician after Dutt to be socially active and interested in welfare politics”.
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First Published: Mar 29, 2019 11:09 IST