What do you have to tell those who are calling you ‘just another film star’ who is fighting the Lok Sabha elections?
Everyone thinks a ‘glamour doll’ has entered. It’s good for me – the lower they think of me, the better it is… I strongly believe that actions speak louder than words. Be the change you wish to see in the world, as Gandhiji said… Also, it is not just about being a star but also being a woman… we are looked down upon.
Why politics? And why the Congress?
In the last five years, there have been many instances where I felt that as a citizen, I should have raised my voice, but did not. People in my industry are so vulnerable. There have been so many examples where people have been called anti-nationals, asked to go to another country, their patriotism has been questioned because they raised the issue of the well-being of their children. I think that is completely unacceptable and appalling.
Which day and age are we living in that mob lynchings are taking place because a person was suspected to have eaten beef? Instead of developing cities, their names are being changed. With this anarchy and religion-based governance and society, no progress will take place. I am not here just for power. I have stuck my neck out to stand with a party whose ideologies are closest to mine. This clearly shows my integrity.
What, according to you, is the difference between the leaderships of Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi?
One party believes in creating discontent by separating people on the lines of religion, caste and communities. Then we have another leader (Rahul Gandhi) who is dedicated and rooted… He is not telling you he has the answers but he is telling you that he is going to listen to your problems and get the right people to get the issues solved.
What are the top three issues in Mumbai North?
The priority is slum redevelopment and next, improvement of local trains, development of railway stations and more trains. The third issue is women’s healthcare… Where is the money going that basic healthcare can’t be provided? These are questions of life and death. Whether I get elected or not, I will work in the field of healthcare, get doctors in these areas.
How has your opponent, Gopal Shetty (BJP), worked in the consituency?
I was looking at his campaign truck… the entire writing was in Gujarati. He is trying to divide this constituency. North Mumbai is an India within a constituency — there are Maharashtrians, people from UP, Muslims and, of course, Gujaratis. I’m not going to anybody asking for a vote because I am a Maharashtrian. In our own country, you can’t divide people. Why are you trying to divide the city into a Gujarati-Marathi situation?…
You were subjected to trolls for marrying a Muslim…
This is the politics of hate-revenge. Nobody is talking about the five years of progress that didn’t happen, the dreams that never came true. They are only talking of space… How about talking of issues on Earth? The trolls proved to what level they can stoop. I never changed my religion, I was never asked to. My husband is as much a proud Muslim as I am a proud Hindu. That’s the beauty of our nation, and our marriage too. Basically, they are trying to colour Islam in a certain manner or make me look like an indecisive person, though I am clear about my thinking.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines