“I have a bigger reason and motivation to join politics”

In conversation with Governance Now, Urmila Matondkar talks about the change she wants to bring about in Mumbai and how her fate is not going to be like other actor-turned-politicians who fade away with time.

geetanjali

Geetanjali Minhas | April 17, 2019 | Mumbai


#BJP   #politics   #Lok Sabha elections 2019   #Congress   #Urmila Matondkar   #Shiv Sena  


Urmila Matondkar joined the Congress party and within just two months into politics, the actor is already surrounded by controversies – from being accused of making anti-Hindu comments to inappropriate poll campaigning. Fielded against BJP’s Gopal Shetty in the Mumbai North constituency, Matondkar is aware of the long journey ahead. In conversation with Geetanjali Minhas, she talks about the change she wants to bring about in Mumbai and how her fate is not going to be like other actor-turned-politicians who fade away with time. 

 
How has been your campaigning experience so far?
Thumping and interesting; full of ups and downs. Downs when you see people living in downtrodden situations and yet having the heart to smile when you are in front of them. Ups because you can manage to bring a smile on their face and the realisation of how much can and should be done.
 
What made you enter politics?
If one wants to see the change one has to do something about it. Be the change that you want to see! I have taken this step, and if given a chance, [I will] bring about a change in things I see lacking.
 
Your views on the current political scenario in the country...
It is politics of hatred, division and constantly creating barriers and unrest in society. It is done intentionally and not taking the country towards promised progress.
 
Any special preparation before entering the politics?
Anyone who is aware, educated and knowledgeable can enter politics. I have been an extraordinary student. To handle things that come in politics, especially in the last five years, nobody can prepare you.
 
Many star politicians admit they were misfits in politics. How prepared are you to face the challenges that will come your way?
It is too early to talk about it. I am aware of it. I do not like generalising and would like to be judged for my own actions and not the actions of my predecessors. I have a bigger reason and motivation to join politics.
 
Why did you choose INC over BJP or Shiv Sena?
Because my ideology is closest to that of the Congress. It is the only party which I believe has taken the country as a whole towards progress and believes in the basic ideas of democracy and human rights that our constitution has given. When these issues are under distress we will obviously stand for a party which has always believed in preserving them and taken steps to ensure they stay untouched.            
 
Your father was an active member of a bank employees union and your mother is a retired state government employee. Did that influence your thinking in anyway?
Most Maharashtrian families are socio-politically aware. Besides the trade union, my father has been associated with all kinds of social issues. Obviously these values will be passed on to the children knowingly or unknowingly at a young age. As I happened to be in a completely different line of work and making a career there, these things were not a priority at that time. Moreover, those times were not as difficult and oppressing as the last few years have been.
 
What are the key issues you intend to work on in Mumbai North?
There are many: housing, water, local trains, women’s health and children education. If given a chance [I will do] the best I can.
 
How do you rank the performance of the current MP of the constituency?
I don’t think work has been done the way it should have been.
 
How do you plan to make Mumbai a vibrant city again?
To make it vibrant you have to make it livable, bearable and affordable, which includes development of slums with basic necessities followed by other deeper, pressing issues of roads, traffic, health, education, and unemployment.
 
With a mere 12 percent representation of women in the 16th Lok Sabha, how difficult it will be for you in politics?
There are going to be opportunities and women will also have to step up. Women will need a helping hand so they can step up.
 
What is your greatest strength?
My awareness to learn and know things and a belief that there is always scope to grow. I am always ready to work hard and move forward. 
 
geetanjali@governancenow.com 
(This interview appears in the April 30, 2019 edition)

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