Mumbai: Urmila Matondkar, a popular Bollywood actor during the nineties, is all set to join Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena on Tuesday. Mantodkar’s induction into Uddhav Thackeray-led party comes several months after she resigned from the Congress party, citing infighting and petty politics.
The actress had made her political debut as a Congress candidate in the 2019 Lok Sabha election from the Mumbai North constituency, which she eventually lost. She later resigned from the Congress – a key ally of the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra – citing petty in-house politics in the Mumbai Congress as the reason.
At the time of joining the Congress party, she had insisted that she had ventured into politics to stay there for long. However, Matondkar resigned from the party in just six months, blaming senior party leaders for working against her and inaction on most pressing issues.
Matondkar’s exit from the party triggered a war of words within the party, which systematically weakened the Congress in Mumbai. Matondkar had alleged that her Lok Sabha election campaign coordinators lacked political maturity and failed to mobilise ground workers as well as hold meetings at the ward and block levels.
She had named Bhushan Patil and Sandesh Kondwilkar – two close aides of former Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam. She also alleged that the Congress leadership took no action over her letter, which was leaked to the media, and termed it an “act of blatant betrayal”.
Even before the 2019 Maharashtra assembly elections, there were intense speculations that she would join the Shiv Sena, Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party or even Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, but she had scoffed them as ”rumours.”
Sources from the Shiv Sena claim Uddhav Thackeray’s party is quite impressed with how Urmila Matondkar slammed actor Kangana Ranaut at a time when the party was also engaged in a war of words with the latter.
The controversy began with Ranaut’s claim that she “feared the Mumbai Police more than the movie mafia”, following which the Shiv Sena said she shouldn’t live in the Maharashtra capital if that was the case.
Ranaut then drew a parallel between Mumbai and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, which triggered a more vehement response from the Shiv Sena. The Sena-controlled Mumbai civic body eventually served a demolition notice to Ranaut’s office bungalow in Bandra for alleged illegal construction and took action within 24 hours.
Matondkar and Ranaut were also lodged in a war of words after the latter had called her a ‘soft porn star’ in an interview to a news channel. Matondkar had told Ranaut that her hometown Himachal Pradesh is the origin of drugs. She later accused the actress of playing the victim and woman card and questioned the Y-security she received while arriving in Mumbai from Mandi.
Impressed with her handling of Kangana Ranaut, a section of Shiv Sena leaders are of the view she should be inducted into the party. Maharashtra’s ruling party hopes that her induction will add a nationally-recognised face and voice, well conversant in Marathi, Hindi as well as English, to represent the party.
“Urmila Matondkar has always stated that she respects Balasaheb Thackeray. She is a typical Mumbaiite, a Marathi girl who loves the city and wants to work for its development. She is well-read in Marathi literature,” Manisha Kayande, a Shiv Sena MLC and party spokesperson, had said.
Throwing further indications in this regard, Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP and chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut had on Monday said that the Bollywood actor will join the Shiv Sena on December 1.
“She (Urmila Matondkar) may join Shiv Sena tomorrow. She is a Shiv Sainik. We are happy that she is joining the Shiv Sena. This will strengthen the party’s ‘Mahila Aghadi’,” Raut said. Matondkar is likely to join the Shiv Sena in the presence of party president and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and State Minister Aaditya Thackeray. After her formal induction into the party, she will be holding a press conference at 4 PM to announce her future plans.
Sources close to the party said that Matondkar’s name, along with 11 others, has been forwarded to Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari by the Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra government for nomination to the Legislative Council from the governor’s quota.
The list is pending with Koshyari, the sources said. However, there has been no confirmation regarding the same from Mantodkar as yet. Matondkar, 46, had unsuccessfully contested the 2019 Lok Sabha election from the Mumbai North constituency.
Urmila Matondkar, 46, is one of the most loved stars of Bollywood. She has proved her acting prowess in many blockbuster and critically-acclaimed films and ruled the industry in the 90s. She entered the industry as a child artiste and worked for years. Urmila played a pivotal role in ‘Masoom’ and years later, she was the leading lady in the romantic drama ‘Rangeela’, which made her an overnight sensation.
Urmila is also known for movies such as ‘ Judaai’, ‘Satya’, ‘Khoobsurat’, ‘Jungle’, ‘Kaun’, Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya’, ‘Pinjar’, ‘Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara’ among others.
Marathi movie ‘Ajoba’ (2014) marks her last film on the big screen. However, she has made quite a few appearances in other projects in cameo roles and special dance sequences.
Talking about her personal life, Urmila surprised everyone by marrying model-turned-businessman Mohsin Akhtar Mir in 2016. The wedding was a quiet ceremony and was hosted in Mumbai. The couple is happily married and Mohsin often features in Urmila’s Instagram posts.