Actress-turned-politician and BJP’s sitting MP from Mathura Hema Malini disagrees with the Union Minister Maneka Gandhi on helping Muslims. It is learned that hardliners of BJP and RSS in Mathura are anguished at her stand on Muslims. On the other hand, Maneka Gandhi threatened Muslims not to get their work done if they do not vote for her. Maneka Gandhi is a BJP candidate from Sultanpur constituency in UP. Thus, it seems both Hema Malini and Maneka Gandhi are harming their electoral prospects and it would be interesting to see how the two candidates fair in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
It is worth mentioning that in Sultanpur Lok Sabha constituency, the Muslim voters are in sizeable numbers. Muslims are a deciding factor in elections there. Therefore, it is considered harmful to offend them. At the same time, in Mathura, the Jat community comprises about 20 per cent of the population. Hema Malini’s husband Dharmendra belongs to this community. Recently, Dharmendra was in Mathura. He repeated his famous dialogues from the Hindi blockbuster “Sholay” as he campaigned here for his wife Hema Malini. He said, “If you will not vote for “Basanti”, I will climb up the water tank of the village.”
When asked to comment on both the candidates’ electoral prospects, Nitin Raut, Chairman of Scheduled Caste Department of All India Congress Committee (AICC) said, “Both of them are trying to mislead the voters. They are not bothered about the welfare of people and only want to win the election. Hence, they are issuing such statements. I don’t think Muslims will vote for either of them.”
Addressing an election rally in Turab Khani village in Sultanpur, Maneka Gandhi told Muslims that she was all set to win and they should vote for her as they would need her help in future. She said, “I am winning… But if my victory is without support from Muslims, I won’t feel that good. The heart will become sour. Then when a Muslim comes to me for work, I think to think over?” Sultanpur constituency will vote on May 12.
Richa Singh, Samajwadi Party spokesperson, said, “The BJP government is in power for last five years at Centre and two years in Uttar Pradesh but they have failed to fulfill the promises made by them. They have failed to generate employment, have not implemented farm loan waiver. Law and order is deteriorating in Uttar Pradesh.”
“Maneka Gandhi is threatening voters by saying that she won’t work for their welfare after getting re-elected. Hema Malini has been unable to create awareness among voters about what work she had done in the last five years. She is giving false assurance to voters and taking advantage of her stardom,” she added.
The District Election Officer of Sultanpur has served a notice on Maneka Gandhi for her remarks at a political rally and allegedly threatening Muslims. Her statement had triggered a sharp reaction from the Opposition parties. The Congress accused her of dividing people in the name of caste and community.
BJP MLA Laxmi Narayan told Afternoon Voice, “Hema Malini’s campaign is going on well in Mathura. I have organised around 115 meetings. Dharmendra and Hema Malini’s meeting was also very successful. Educated Muslims are voting for BJP. Muslims support Hema Malini as she is a politician and had done several developmental works in Mathura. Hardline Muslims won’t vote for Hema Malini.”
Hema Malini said that once elected from a constituency, a leader has to help everybody and cannot say ‘No’ to those who did not vote for him or her. Asked to react to the Maneka Gandhi’s statement, Hema Malini said, “Everybody is different” and she does not hold the same view. She also said, “Even if they (Muslims) do not vote for us, we cannot say ‘No’ to their work. Once we are representing a constituency, we are supposed to help all…. I feel so.” Hema Malini is in Mathura these days, which will go to polls on April 18.
BJP MLA Surya Bhan Singh said, “There is a Muslim majority in Sultanpur. Hardline Muslims will not vote for BJP but patriotic Muslims will support us. Maneka Gandhi’s statements have been misquoted by the media. We have offered Rs 1 to 2 lakhs for the medical treatment of people in her constituency. This time Maneka will win by a margin of 3 to 4 lakhs.”