By QUAID NAJMIMumbai, Dec 1 : Bollywood actor Urmila Matondkar disappointed no one as she joined the Shiv Sena, solemnly tied a ‘Shiv-Bandhan’ and grabbed the bow and arrow to become the newest and most glamorous Shiv Sainik on Tuesday.
Shortly after her grand debut in the second party in her a two-year-old political career, the Marathi ‘mulgi’ made all statements that proved soothing music for Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and even the Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.
For starters, the 46-year old “Masoom” girl took an indirect swipe at Kangna Ranaut by proclaiming: “I am a people-made star, not a media-made star.I am sure I will be a ‘people-made’ leader, too!”
“I am a Hindu by ‘janma’ and ‘karma’.
I have tremendous respect for the late Balasaheb Thackeray.Shiv Sena is a ‘Hindutva’ party.
Hindutva implies it is all-inclusive, without any discrimination.I don’t need to speak how much I believe in ‘Hindutva’, it’s a personal matter,” Urmila, warming the cockles of the hearts of even hardcore Shiv Sainiks.
She countered by asking whether “any kind of discrimination or special treatment” meted out to any section of the people under the one year of MVA, and generously lauded the manner in which Thackeray and the Shiv Sena-led government have “lived upto peoples’ expectations”.
“Whether it was the Corona pandemic and lockdown, the floods, farmers distress or any other calamity, Thackerayji has done well.He acted tough when required and communicated like a family elder when it warranted,” Urmila said.
However, she expressed concern at a “highly vitriolic atmosphere” that prevails in the country and said its time now to counter and neutralise it.
“My warm welcome to all the trolls… I am being viciously trolled on social media, which shows I am on the right track.But I don’t block them I feel I must first practice tolerance before talking about it,” Urmila said with a smile.
Fielding a volley of questions thrown by a house-full media like a pro, she also made it clear that she had only quit the Congress (September 2019), but not withdrawn from public life.
“I have all respect for (Congress President) Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.I contested the (2019) Lok Sabha elections from Mumbai North and lost, the reasons for which I specified in my letter.But there’s no ill-will or obstacles of any kind from anywhere,” Urmila said of her exit from Congress last year.
In this context, to a query on how long she would last in the party, she asserted that she is a Marathi, and “once I take a step forward, there’s no backtracking”, indicating she plans for a long run on the Sena theatre.
Urmila recalled how she was left impressed when CM Thackeray called up on her nomination to the state’s upper house, saying “he desired to raise the stature of state’s rich culture and heritage in the Maharashtra Legislative Council” for which she could contribute.
She threw her full weight behind Bollywood, currently at the receiving end from various quarters saying: “Bollywood needs to stand up and speak.People like us can help.Its not just the stars who make Bollywood… there’s huge investment of crores of rupees there.”
Earlier, Urmila was accorded a warm welcome in the Sena by CM Thackeray, his wife Rashmi, Ministers Subhash Desai and Aditya Thackeray, MPs Anil Desai and Priyanka Chaturvedi, Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar and Siddhi Vinayak Temple Trust Chairman and Marathi actor Aadesh Bandekar.
Soon after that, she bowed with folded hands and paid her respects before a wall-portrait of the founder-patriarch of Shiv Sena, the late Balasaheb Thackeray and his wife Meenatai Thackeray, at the Thackeray residence, ‘Matoshri’ in Bandra east.
In anticipation of her joining, the Shiv Sena last month (Nov.2020) recommended Urmila’s name – along with 11 others of the MVA – to Raj Bhavan for a coveted nomination to the Maharashtra Legislative Council from the quota of Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari – which she publicly acknowledged.
(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: [email protected]