- Urmila Matondkar was Congress candidate in last year's Lok Sab election
- She had alleged that infighting in party dragged down her campaign
- She termed the Maharashtra government's performance as "brilliant"
Actor-politician Urmila Matondkar, who recently joined Maharashtra's ruling Shiv Sena, says she does not regret her short-lived association with the Congress and had high regard for its leadership.
Urmila Matondkar also said she declined the Congress's offer of a seat in the Maharashtra legislative council out of the Governor's quota, one that she later took from the Shiv Sena. Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari is yet to decide on names recommended by the state government.
"I was in the party for less than six months and the Lok Sabha campaign for 28 days gave me many good memories," the 46-year-old told PTI in an interview.
On the legislative council offer, she explained: "I thought since I had quit the party, it would be improper to take a post it had offered."
She said she didn't believe in nursing regrets.
"If I did not speak against the Congress even after quitting the party, I see no reason why I should do it now," she said.
Urmila Matondkar lost as a Congress candidate from Mumbai North in last year's national election. In May, days after the results, she wrote to the Congress leadership alleging that infighting dragged down her campaign. In the letter, she criticised the conduct of two Congress leaders who are close to Sanjay Nirupam, a senior party leader in Mumbai.
"My conscience was important for me," she said, denying that her decision to quit the Congress had anything to do with her election defeat.
Ms Matondkar said one year of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government headed by the Shiv Sena's Uddhav Thackeray had been "brilliant".
"I feel one year of the MVA government headed by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray was brilliant. The welfare of people amid COVID-19 and natural disasters was a big task," she said.
She tackled a question about her ideological shift from the Congress to the Shiv Sena and said she believed the word ''secular'' has been lost in translation.
"Being secular doesn't mean you have no belief in religion, while being a Hindu doesn't mean you hate other religions. The Shiv Sena is a Hindutvawadi party. Hinduism is a great religion, which is all inclusive," she said.
"My intention is to become a people's leader, like I have been a people-made film star," she added, asserting that she would work for people irrespective of their caste, creed and religion.
"I don't want to become a leader who just sits in AC rooms and tweets...I know what I have to do and how to do and I will keep learning."
She emphasised that even if she did not make it to the Maharashtra legislative council, she would continue to work for the Shiv Sena. "I did not join the Shiv Sena for any post. I had not joined the Congress to contest elections. I would have been happy campaigning for the party (Congress).
On her acting assignments, Ms Matondkar said she had agreed to do a web series and a film before the lockdown. "I am not sure if that will happen now," she added.
(With inputs from PTI)