The Congress party has fielded actor and former Miss Bikini India 2018, Archana Gautam, as its candidate from Hastinapur constituency in the Meerut district to contest the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. She is also the winner of Miss Uttar Pradesh 2014 and Miss Cosmo World 2018. She had joined the Congress party in November 2021.
On Thursday, the party rolled out its first list of 125 candidates for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections which are due to be held in seven phases from February 10 and the list includes 50 women candidates.
Speaking to news agency ANI on Friday, Gautam said that if she wins the Hastinapur seat, then the main focus will be on development work. She also said that tourism will be encouraged.
"Hastinapur is a tourist place and there are lots of ancient temples but people are not able to come here because of the connectivity problem. After becoming an MLA, my first priority will be to build a bus stand and a railway station. If tourism gets a boost, more tourists will come and people will get employment, she added.
She further said that she will also work for the farmers.
"Every year because of the flood, crops are damaged so I will work for that. I will take this matter to the State Assembly. There is only one sugar mill here and because of this, farmers face a lot of problems. So to save their time, I will open more sugar mills," she added.
Meanwhile, soon after the Congress named her as the party’s candidate from Hastinapur, bikiniclad pictures of the actor-model started surfacing on social media. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) then went on to accuse the grand old party of indulging in "cheap publicity".
"The Congress is not having candidates, and is ready to field any candidate to garner cheap publicity and headlines. There is no feeling of serving the public behind fielding such a candidate. It also shows that there is no seriousness in them (Congress), as they have fielded an 'apolitical' candidate. It also shows the lack of maturity on their part," UP BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi said.
Hitting back at the ruling BJP in the state, UP Congress spokesman Ashok Singh said, "Is there any harm in fielding an artiste as a candidate if she is interested to enter politics? As far as the BJP is concerned, it has a number of artistes, and one of them is a minister. If an artiste wants to come to politics and serve people, it is a good sign, and should be appreciated." He added that the charges levelled by the BJP showcase their bad mindset.
Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha and Sant Mahasabha chief Swami Chakrapani also slammed the Congress candidate from Hastinapur, saying "nothing can be expected from a party which has gone mentally bankrupt". "If any person is entering social life, then he/she should be one who respects our culture. But, the Congress differentiates between 'Hindu' and 'Hindutva'. Nothing should be expected from the leaders of a party which has gone mentally bankrupt. Tomorrow, they can field a criminal as a candidate, and can stoop down to any level to garner votes," he alleged.
Meanwhile, speaking on her viral pitures, Gautam has urged people to not merge her profession in the media industry with her political career. "I represented India in Miss Bikini 2018. I was Miss Uttar Pradesh 2014 and Miss Cosmo World 2018. I request people to not merge my profession in the media industry with my political career," said Gautam.
Gautam made her Bollywood debut in 2015 with the movie 'Great Grand Masti'. She was also seen in 'Haseena Parker' and 'Baaraat Company'.
(With ANI inputs)
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