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Monday, May 27, 2024

Not a seasoned politician, contesting to complete my dream for Mathura: Hema Malini

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VRINDAVAN (UP), March 27: People in Mathura will be voting for a combination of Narendra Modi and Hema Malini, says the actor-dancer who has stepped into the heat and dust of campaigning for a third successive term as Lok Sabha MP and doesn’t consider herself a seasoned politician just yet.

Describing herself as a Krishna devotee whose dream for her constituency, which includes Vrindavan, is still incomplete, she said she asked the BJP for a ticket so she could finish the work that remains pending.

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“I am not a seasoned politician but being in this position I can do the things I want. I am a devotee of Lord Krishna and I would not have contested if it was not Mathura.  I am here because Lord Krishna wants me to do some seva. I did not want to jump into politics but I think it is divine intervention,” the 75-year-old told PTI in an exclusive interview.

Recalling how worried she was to see conditions in the area, Malini said she was grateful to the BJP for giving her a ticket for a third time.

“I have done a lot of work and I want to do much more work for what my dream is. If half of that is done, I will be very satisfied,” said the veteran actor for whom the BJP made a rare exception and bypassed its unwritten rule of a cut-off age of 75 for a ticket.

Confident of victory in the Jat dominated seat, she is certain her status as a ‘Jat bahu’, courtesy her marriage to fellow Bollywood star Dharmendra Deol, a Jat Sikh, will help as will the fact that Jat leader Jayant Chaudhary is now in the NDA fold.

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“Looks like a one-sided election but still we have to work hard to get the maximum number of votes. I am a Jat bahu and all the Jats love me a lot. I am a Brahmin also,” she said discussing her chances from the constituency where Lord Krishna is the constant sub-text. It is home to the Krishna Janmabhoomi temple and also where Lord Krishna is believed to have grown up.

Discussing her showbiz career, the veteran of films such as “Sholay”, “Seeta aur Geeta” and “Khushboo” and one of India’s most high profile celebrities, said, “I tell everyone that I am three in one – a film artiste, a dancer and a politician.”

“I am still performing everywhere and people love my shows. I am very dedicated to my classical dance that I continue. If there are any good roles in films, I will also do that. All three roles are close to my heart. I am thankful to god that I was given the opportunities at the right time.”

Mathura goes to the polls on April 26.

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She said people in Mathura would vote for a “combination of both” — Prime Minister Narendra Modi and her.

“Modiji has done a lot for the whole country which will get us votes. At the same time if you ask what I have done, you can go and see.”

What further boosts her confidence is that all five Assembly segments under the Mathura Lok Sabha constituency – Chhata, Mant, Goverdhan, Mathura, and Baldev (all in Mathura district) – were won by the BJP in the 2022 Vidhan Sabha elections.

The farmers’ issue, Malini added, has no resonance in Mathura and has been blown out of proportion.

“I don’t think any farmers in Braj kshetra are unhappy. Whenever any farmer had any issue, I was the first one to take it forward to the concerned ministry and get it solved. It’s not a big issue though they have made it look like one. I am sure the government will solve it,” she said.

The Ram temple, in her view, would be a big factor this election.

“Definitely Ram temple will be one of the issues as people go to vote but it is not the only thing Modiji has done. He fulfilled his promise to build a beautiful temple and the whole country had participated with tears in eyes. That kind of a bhav I have never seen in our country…”

“Krishna Janmabhoomi issue is sub judice so can’t comment on that . But if Krishna wants, it will be done,” she added.

She has evolved as an MP with experience and now bigger issues are there in her radar.

“When I became the MP here, I tried to change things but it was not sufficient. There is still a lot to be done and the main thing is the mentality of people should be changed.  People criticise me when I insist on cleanliness and many say that we want a local MP because they think that they should continue living the way they have been living for last many decades.”

Malini said she did not know the job in the first five years but learnt gradually.

“Earlier the issues were like ‘bijli, pani, sadak’ only. In the second term, my focus was on some better and bigger work.  So the railway station was revamped.  I also brought a beautiful world class theatre here so renowned artistes across the world can come and perform here. There should be an amalgamation of bhakti and culture which was missing here. It took a lot of time but hopefully will be ready in next two- three months,” she added.

Her last two elections were dubbed ‘Brajwasi vs an outsider” contests. The outsider won handsomely both times.

In 2014, she won against then sitting MP, Jayant Chaudhary of the RLD, with a huge margin of 3,40,725 votes. And in 2019 2,93,471 votes against Kunwar Narendra Singh of the RLD.

“When I became the MP for the first time people were attracted towards me because I am a movie star.  But the notion was that I would not visit the constituency frequently but I proved it wrong. I built a house here and I am living in Vrindavan and no longer an outsider,” she said.

“Saline water is a big issue here and now Ganga water will come but it will take time. Flyovers, railway connectivity, beautification of Soordas sthal, cleaning of kunds in coordination with  Brij Teerth Vikas Parishad are few important works I have initiated,” she replied when asked about her work in the last decade.

She blamed the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government for the pollution in Yamuna water.

“Cleaning of Yamuna is the one issue I am going to take enormous interest in and get it done this time though it is very difficult.  Right from the first term I have been trying….

“ The main problem is that the dirty water is coming from Delhi, so what can we do? If the Delhi government cleans up the Yamuna when it leaves Delhi, there will not be many efforts needed to clean the river.  Again, Kejriwal will be answerable for this,” she added. (PTI)




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