Actor-turned-politician Hema Malini is contesting from Uttar Pradesh’s Mathura seat in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections on a BJP ticket. She is the incumbent MP from the constituency and is contesting against Rashtriya Lok Dal(RLD)’s Narendra Singh and Congress candidate Mahesh Pathak.
Hema Malini contested the Lok Sabha elections for the first time in 2014, defeating RLD’s Jayant Chaudhary by over 3 lakh votes. She had been a Rajya Sabha MP between 2003 and 2009.
Her campaign in the run up to the elections has been full of faux pas. While she had promised to tackle the monkey menace in Vrindavan — a holy city visited by thousands of Krisha devotees each year — during her 2014 campaign, this year she blamed it on citizens giving them too much Frooti. She drew flak on social media after she had said, ”Coexistence hai na. Monkey kahan jaega? Problem kya hai, yahan aane waale yaatri Frooti dete hain, samosa de de ke unko kharab kar diya. Unko sirf phal dijiye (It’s a coexistence. Where will the monkey go? The problem is the tourists give Frooti and samosa to the monkeys, they should only give them fruits).”
She was severely trolled, when, in March, she shared pictures from a farm on her first day of the campaign. “Began my Lok Sabha campaign today with the Govardhan Kshetra where I had the opportunity to interact with women working in the fields. A few fotos for u of my first day of campaign,” Hema Malini had tweeted. Twitter users were quick to point out that the photos of her cutting hay looked staged.
However, Hema Malini was unaffected by the criticism and said, “I am an actress, a celebrity. I don’t see this in Mumbai. When I go to the villages, I like that environment and I like it. Even if I acted, it was fun. What is wrong with it? Everybody was happy to see the picture back in Mumbai.”
It doesn’t end there. In April she tweeted a photo of herself driving a tractor. In the photos one could see air coolers placed on the tractor, directed towards her.
When asked about the work in her constituency, she told News18 that she had done a lot of good work, but she did not “remember much”.
The actor, known for her iconic role in Sholay as Basanti, forayed into active politics, joining the BJP in 2004. She had earlier campaigned for fellow actor, late Vinod Khanna in Punjab’s Gurdaspur in 1999. Hema Malini has acted in several successful films ike Seeta aur Geeta, Dream Girl and Baghban.