As the seven constituencies of Maharashtra go to polls in the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections 2019, campaigning is continuing at a fever pitch in the other seats of the state. In a poll campaign in Mumbai, BJP's candidate and sitting MP from North Mumbai Gopal Shetty spoke about his challenger, actor-turned-politician Urmila Matondkar, and made a sexist statement regarding why she was fielded by the Congress against him.
Speaking to ANI at a campaign rally in North Mumbai, Shetty said:
"Urmila ji has been brought to politics because she is a celebrity and because she is a celebrity, she has been brought due to how she looks, why would anyone feel bad about it, there's no reason. She is from a political family. She has knowledge about politics. But she has chosen a wrong party."
Matondkar, who joined Congress in the last week of March, faces a difficult prospect, especially considering that Gopal Shetty had defeated former Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Ram Naik, the BJP veteran who is currently the Governor of Uttar Pradesh, held the constituency for five terms. In 2004, the Congress, in its bid to end the BJP's dominance in the seat, brought in actor Govinda as its candidate. Govinda defeated Ram Naik by 50,000 votes. The BJP has accused the Congress of trying the same manoeuvre to wrest the seat this time.
Lok Sabha Elections are taking place in seven constituencies of the state: Wardha, Ramtek, Nagpur, Bhandara-Gondiya, Gadchiroli-Chimur, Chandrapur, and Yavatmal-Washim. Mumbai North will vote on April 29, in the fourth phase of the general election.