MP Elections 2023: My Entry Will Be 'Mangal' For Everyone In Budhni, Says Actor Vikram Mastal On Contesting Against MP CM Chouhan

MP Elections 2023: My Entry Will Be 'Mangal' For Everyone In Budhni, Says Actor Vikram Mastal On Contesting Against MP CM Chouhan

Mastal joined the Congress in July this year in the presence of state Congress president Kamal Nath.

PTIUpdated: Monday, October 16, 2023, 04:09 PM IST
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Vikram Mastal (L), Shivraj Singh Chouhan (R) |

Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Actor Vikram Mastal Sharma, who played the role of Lord Hanuman in a TV serial, is in the limelight again as the Congress has fielded him against BJP heavyweight and four-time Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan from the latter's Budhni seat in the upcoming Madhya Pradesh polls.

Talking to PTI, the 41-year-old actor said he was born on a Tuesday, joined the Congress on the same weekday and his film career also began on a Tuesday.

Therefore, his entry into politics will prove to be "mangal" (auspicious) for everyone in Budhni, Mastal claimed, adding that he will ensure development of the constituency.

Mastal joined the Congress in July this year in the presence of state Congress president Kamal Nath, who claims to be an ardent devotee of Lord Hanuman and has worked to transform the Congress' image from being a pro-minority party to the one adopting a soft-Hindutva approach.

Chouhan (64) is the longest serving chief minister of Madhya Pradesh and has been on the top post for a record four times.

He won from Budhni four consecutive times - in 2006 (bypoll), 2008, 2013 and 2018.

Chouhan contested successfully for the first time from the seat in 1990.

Situated on the banks of the Narmada river, Budhni in Sehore district has been Chouhan's stronghold. The ruling BJP has fielded him again from his home turf for the sixth time in the state assembly polls scheduled on November 17.

Mastal, born in Sehore district's Salkanpur temple town situated close to Budhni, played the role of Lord Hanuman in the 2008 TV serial "Ramayan 2".

Asked about the reason behind turning back to his roots from the acting industry dazzle and glamour, Mastal said, "Lack of development in Budhni prompted me to join politics." Does it look like the constituency of a four-term chief minister? he asked.

By now it should have developed like any other major town with all modern facilities, but the fact is altogether different, he said. "There is zero development here in all these 18 years (of BJP rule)," Mastal claimed.

"Moreover, my zeal to do social service through the road of politics prompted me to join the political field," he said.

Citing an example of lack of development, Mastal claimed, "We have been demanding construction of a dam in the region for long, but nothing has happened. When I filed a complaint about it on the CM Helpline No. 181, my number was blocked by those managing it after a while in June this year." On the transformation of the Salkanpur shrine (dedicated to a Goddess) from a small temple to a grand one during Chouhan's tenure, Mastal said despite all this, a theft took place in the temple around six months back.

When temples are not safe in the chief minister's constituency, then one can easily imagine the condition of the people, he said.

"The roads in the constituency are not developed. You can't drive beyond the speed of 40 km per hour. They are pot-holed at a number of places, farmers are not getting dues for their crops, especially moong. There is no facility for serving food free of cost through Annakoot (community kitchen) to devotees, vehicles cannot go atop the hill during Navratri," Mastal claimed.

Asked how he came in contact with the Congress leadership, Mastal said it was because of the blessings of Lord Hanuman and also his father and brother were associated with the party for a long time.

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