Mumbai: Actor-turned-politician Urmila Matondkar was Monday granted police protection after a group of "BJP supporters" clashed with Congress workers during her poll campaign in north Mumbai.
The scuffle took place near Borivali railway station where Matondkar, the Congress candidate from the Mumbai North Lok Sabha constituency, was canvassing, police said. An onlooker said some BJP workers shouted 'Modi, Modi' as they confronted the Congress workers outside the railway station.
The BJP has fielded sitting MP Gopal Shetty from the constituency. Matondkar told reporters that she lodged a police complaint "after some BJP workers barged into her rally". "We received an application from Matondkar and granted her protection till the elections get over," said Sangramsinh Nishandar, DCP, Zone XI.
Asked if those involved in the scuffle were supporters of the BJP as claimed by Matondkar, the DCP said police do not have any such proof at this moment. "What we can say is that those involved in the incident were commuters," he added.
In her complaint, Matondkar also demanded strict action against the "BJP supporters" for violating the model code of conduct.
Meanwhile, Shetty suggested that those who clashed with Congress workers were not BJP activists, but some local train commuters who admired the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Matondkar stated that the supporters of the BJP tried to thwart her interaction with the people, which was organised after procuring requisite permissions from the authorities concerned.
Around 25 "supporters" of the BJP carrying the party flags chanted "Modi, Modi", she alleged. Matondkar also said she was shocked by the "blatant violation" of the model code of conduct by the workers of the ruling party, and blamed the BJP for "creating fear". "This is just the beginning and may take a violent turn. I have asked for police protection as there is a threat to my life. I have filed a police complaint," she said.
Matondkar also said that those who "barged" into the rally were not common people, but activists of the BJP. The common people will not behave in "violent ways" like these persons, she added. "Those who confronted our rally indulged in vulgar dancing and used abusive language. May be they wanted to scare the women who were walking near us," she said, adding that the BJP supporters also made indecent gestures towards women and started dancing after beating up few of her supporters including women. I am mentally disturbed and I am in shock due to the incident," the actor said in the complaint.
Matondkar said she was contemplating approaching the Election Commission on the issue. Taking to Twitter, she also said, "Shocked at the blatant violation of code of conduct and hostile acts by BJP workers.. I was constrained to lodge police complaint for my own safety and to save the dignity of my female supporters."
Matondkar tweeted that she will face with strength and courage those who would try to push her to the wall. Later, in a video message posted on the micro-blogging website, she said she won't get scared by such acts. "I come from Shivaji Maharaj's holy land, where respecting women is considered the most important thing. In such a situation, I will not step back," she said.
Shetty said that some commuters raised slogans hailing the prime minister. "As the Congress and the BJP enjoy the right to campaign, so does the people. What can we do if people who admire Modi raise slogans in his name?" he asked.
Mumbai goes to polls on 29 April in the fourth phase of the general election.
Updated Date: Apr 15, 2019 21:29:08 IST