BJP's Mathura candidate Hema Malini has been in the news lately for her 'star-style' election campaign for the Lok Sabha election. She has been photographed riding a tractor, harvesting crops and clicking selfies with village women.
Shortly after Malini filed her election nomination papers in March, she was quoted by CNN News18 as saying, “I have done a lot of work for Mathura, but I don’t remember much.”
Her 'village selfies' and their promotion on social media have left many wondering about the style and purpose of her campaigning. The veteran Bollywood actress also recently roped in her husband and fellow actor Dharmendra to campaign for her. The Opposition, however, has termed her acts as "theatrics" and called her "drama girl".
Today is also a special day for me! 😊 Dharamji is here in Mathura to campaign for a whole day on my behalf. The public is waiting eagerly to get a glimpse of him & listen to what he has to say! A photo taken in my house in Mathura just now before we leave for campaigning... pic.twitter.com/JBhklXDp0v
— Hema Malini (@dreamgirlhema) April 14, 2019
— Chowkidar Ritika Jain (@Ritika4ever) April 7, 2019
However, unfazed by the criticism and despite being dubbed an "outsider" by the Opposition, Malini said she has a "divine connection" with Mathura. She has been quoted by PTI as saying, "Yes, I have a house in Mumbai. What is the problem with that? I have a house here also and I am a Virndavanwasi."
"I feel some divine connection with this city. I have been playing Radha and Meera throughout my life, and I was in a temple when my candidature was announced," she said.
The BJP MP said she also has to fulfil her professional commitments as an actor and a danseuse. "In the last five years, I have come here more than 250 times. People should understand that I am not just an MP and I have to use my talent as an actor and a danseuse as well. There is no need for me to be here all the time. I come and get things done in 10 days," she said. "I know that I can't satisfy the entire city, which is so huge, but I have done my work with utmost sincerity and will continue to do so in future as well," she said.
What are those drums on the side? Please don’t tell me those are mist generators for cool air? Wow, that’s one fancy tractor 🚜. https://t.co/PQqSd9dA2R
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) April 5, 2019
In response to the way she was trolled on social media for harvesting wheat crop during her campaign in a village in Mathura, Malini said: “I felt like doing that and I do not think that there was any problem.” “I go to the field. I work for my farmers in Mathura and help them so much. I have a right to enter the field. I had gone there just to take a picture. It was a pleasure to have the picture,” she said.
Began my Lok Sabha campaign today with the Govardhan Kshetra where I had the opportunity to interact with women working in the fields. A few fotos for u of my first day of campaign pic.twitter.com/EH7vYm8Peu
— Hema Malini (@dreamgirlhema) March 31, 2019
Talking about the work done in her constituency in the past five years, she said: “I have provided water, electricity facility to all areas in the constituency. I have also got a passport office opened in Mathura. Earlier, people had to go to Aligarh or other towns for making passports. Roads have been widened. Connectivity has improved a lot,” she said.
Malini also said that it pained her when people questioned her work in the last five years. "I really feel hurt when someone asks 'aapne kya kaam kiya?' (what work did you do). The first two years were difficult as I could not communicate (with the people). But in the last two years, I was able to get things done with the support of the Centre and the state government," she said. "Many projects have been sanctioned under Brij Teerth Vikas Parishad and I am working to revive the old heritage of Brij Mandal," she said, adding that she needed another five years for that. "This is why I have decided to stay back," she said.
Despite being a star campaigner of the ruling BJP, Malini said she is not eyeing a ministerial berth at the Centre and wants to focus on Mathura only. "I am not a hardcore politician and I want to limit myself to Mathura only. I am asked many times if I want to become a minister and it sounds so strange. Being a minister is a full-time responsibility," Hema Malini said.
"Women ministers in Modiji's cabinet have done extremely well and I am proud of them, but this is not a competition," she added.
Malini also expressed confidence about her victory. She said that her good work will help her win the election again. “My government has also done good work. So, I am sure people will support us,” said Malini in an interview to ANI. She also expressed confidence that the next government at the Centre will again be formed by the BJP under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“The whole system is changing. People want development. They want quick decisions to be taken for whatever is happening in the country. People belonging to different castes, all want Modi,” she said.
When asked if SP-BSP-RLD alliance candidate Narendra Singh will queer the pitch for her this time by eating into Jat votes, she said: “I am sure that he will get some votes. But I will get much more votes than him because I have worked for everybody irrespective of their caste. For me, all the people are Brijwasis.”
Malini had defeated the RLD's sitting MP Jayant Chaudhary in 2014 by a huge margin of 3,30,743 votes in 2014. This year, she is pitted against RLD's Kunwar Narendra Singh. Voting will be held in Mathura in the second round of seven-phase Lok Sabha polls on 18 April.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Apr 15, 2019 22:39:51 IST