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'My entry will be 'mangal' for everyone in Budhni', says Vikram Mastal on contesting against CM Chouhan

Madhya Pradesh Assembly Election 2023: Polls to the 230-member state assembly will be held on November 17, while votes will be counted on December 3. Meanwhile, Congress has fielded actor Vikram Mastal from Budhni.

Edited By: Bhagya Luxmi @bhagya_luxmi Budhni Updated on: October 18, 2023 16:53 IST
Congress fielded Vikram Mastal from Budhni against Madhya
Image Source : PTI Congress fielded Vikram Mastal from Budhni against Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan

Madhya Pradesh Assembly Election 2023: Actor Vikram Mastal Sharma made it to the headlines after Congress fielded him from Budhni in Sehore against Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Sharma, who played the role of Lord Hanuman in a TV serial, is in the limelight again after Congress released a list of its 144 candidates for the upcoming polls in the state. 

He ensured development of Budhni 

In an interview, Sharma said his entry into politics will prove to be “mangal” (auspicious) for everyone in Budhni as he was born on a Tuesday, joined the Congress on the same weekday and his film career also began on a Tuesday. He added that he will ensure the 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 one adopting a soft-Hindutva approach.

Budhni- a stronghold of CM Chouhan 

Chouhan (64) is the longest-serving chief minister of Madhya Pradesh and has been in 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 to contest against Chouhan 

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 in the acting industry dazzle and glamour, Mastal said, “Lack of development in Budhni prompted me to join politics.”

Actor takes swipe at CM 

Taking a swipe at CM Chouhan, he asked, Does it look like the constituency of a four-term chief minister? 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.

(with inputs from PTI)

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