Mumbai: Bollywood actress Urmila Matondkar was named on Friday as the Congress candidate for the Mumbai North Lok Sabha constituency.
She will contest against the main rival, sitting Bharatiya Janata Party MP Gopal Shetty.
The decision of the Congress’ Central Election Committee was announced by its General Secretary Mukul Wasnik.
IANS had first reported on March 25 that her name was in “an advanced stage of consideration by the party high command” and awaiting the final nod of the top bosses.
Matondkar, 45, who shot to fame as a child star in “Masoom” (1983), was welcomed to the party fold on Wednesday by Congress President Rahul Gandhi and other top leaders.
Upon joining the party, she dismissed all apprehensions on her political role, saying: “I am here to stay – even after the elections.”
Talking to the media, she said there were questions pertaining to freedom of people under the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “I have entered politics to articulate those questions.”
She also praised Gandhi saying a leader should be judged by people for their qualities and not their background.
Married to a Kashmiri, M.A. Mir, Matondkar poses a formidable challenge to Shetty in the constituency, which was once regarded as a BJP bastion.
Mumbai North is one of two constituencies out of 48 in the state which has a glamorous personality in the fray in the 2019 elections.
Well-known South Indian actress Navneet Kaur-Rana is the Yuva Swabhiman Party candidate for Amravati in eastern Maharashtra, supported by the 56-party Congress-led Grand Alliance.
The 33-year old actress, married to Badnera independent legislator Ravi Rana – the nephew of yoga guru Ramdev Baba – will lock horns with five-time Shiv Sena MP, Anandrao V. Adsul, 71.
Mumbai North, after Mumbai North-West (now Mumbai North-Central) represented by actor-turned-politician Sunil Dutt five times since 1984, is the second Lok Sabha constituency in the country’s glamour capital which has elected a well-known film personality.
Bollywood actor Govinda had earned the title of ‘giant-killer’ in 2004 when – in a major upset – he trounced former Union Petroleum Minister Ram Naik, who is now the Governor of Uttar Pradesh, in the seat.
In 2009, Naik had faced his second consecutive defeat, this time at the hands of the Congress’s Sanjay Nirupam. But, in 2014, Nirupam was defeated by Shetty during the BJP-wave which catapulted Modi as the Prime Minister.
Mumbai’s six Lok Sabha constituencies are going to the polls on April 29, along with 17 others in the state’s fourth phase of elections.
Starting her successful acting at the age of seven as a child actor, over the years Matondkar has worked in some of the biggest blockbusters with the top actors in Bollywood, Marathi and South Indian films.