The Congress on Friday formally announced the name of actor-turned-politician Urmila Matondkar as the party’s candidate from Mumbai North constituency. Matondkar will take on sitting BJP MP Gopal Shetty in Lok Sabha elections — the seat will go to polls on April 29.
The Mumbai North constituency — comprising Malad West, Kandivali East, Charkop, Magathane, Borivali and Dahisar — was initially offered to Congress leader and former MP from the seat Sanjay Nirupam, who declined. He had lost to Shetty by 3,80,000 votes in 2014 elections.
Nirupam, who was the president of the party’s city unit until recently, will contest from the adjoining Mumbai North West seat.
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Launching her campaign from in Borivali on Friday, Matondkar told party workers: “If someone asks why are you backing a star, say that the only star in a democracy is the people.” Claiming that she joined politics to “bring back governance of tolerance, and not of hatred that is prevalent now”, Matondkar said, “I wonder how long it will take us to come out of the politics of hatred.”
Referring to party president Rahul Gandhi, she said, “I think he will be ideal leader for this country. He is connected, rooted and believes in taking everybody along with him. He doesn’t act like ‘know-it-all’.”
This is not the first time that Congress has used star power in the constituency. In 2004, the party fielded actor Govinda from Mumbai North, who defeated former state petroleum minister Ram Naik (BJP).