On-Screen Hanuman And Shivraj Contest In Budhni Will Be 'Artiste V/S Artiste' Fight: Nath

On-Screen Hanuman And Shivraj Contest In Budhni Will Be 'Artiste V/S Artiste' Fight: Nath

Mastal joined the Congress two months ago and hails from Budhni.

PTIUpdated: Monday, October 16, 2023, 08:54 PM IST
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Kamal Nath |

Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): A day after the Congress fielded actor Vikram Mastal, best known for playing the role of Lord Hanuman in a TV serial, to take on Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on his home turf Budhni in the next month's assembly polls, state party president Kamal Nath on Monday said people are going to see an interesting fight between two "artistes".

The opposition party, which released its first list of 144 candidates for the November 17 polls to 230-member assembly, chose a non-political face, Mastal, to contest again Chouhan, the longest serving BJP chief minister who is holding the top post since 2005 barring a 15-month break (December 2018-March 2020) when Nath was the CM.

Mastal (41) achieved fame for his portrayal of Lord Hanuman in the popular 2008 television serial "Ramayan 2".

"It is absolutely a kalakar v/s kalakar (artiste) fight. A debate should be organised between the two to know who is the bigger kalakar. In this (debate), Shivraji will beat our Mastalji," state Congress president Nath told reporters when asked about the fight on the Budhni seat in Sehore district.

In October 2020, while taking a dig at his successor Chouhan, Nath had said the 64-year-old BJP leader was such a "good actor" that he can put to shame Bollywood superstars like Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan.

Mastal joined the Congress two months ago and hails from Budhni.

"Chouhan faces a huge challenge as Mastal is very popular. He is the Congress' Hanuman," Congress spokesperson Charan Singh Sapra told reporters the previous day.

Chouhan, who is referred to as "mama" (uncle) by his supporters, is the longest serving chief minister of Madhya Pradesh and is currently in his fourth term, a record for the state. Before him, senior BJP leader Raman Singh was the party's longest serving chief minister and held the top post in adjoining Chhattisgarh for 15 years (2003-2018).

The CM has won from Budhni four consecutive times since 2006, and he was also the MLA from the seat between 1990 and 1991.

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

The Congress, eyeing a return to power in the state, started its poll campaign on June 12 in Jabalpur with massive cut-outs of Lord Hanuman dotting the city and its rallies have witnessed 'Jai Bajrang Bali' chants. Also, Nath projects himself as a staunch Lord Hanuman devotee.

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