'Hero No. 1' Govinda makes a political comeback, joins Shinde-led Shiv Sena

Govinda, Bollywood actor and former MP, joins Shiv Sena in Mumbai
Bollywood actor and former Congress Lok Sabha MP Govinda on Thursday joined the Shiv Sena in the presence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde in Mumbai.
Bollywood actor and former Congress Lok Sabha MP Govinda on Thursday joined the Shiv Sena in the presence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde in Mumbai.

Mumbai | Bollywood actor Govinda, a mass entertainer of the 1990s who is known for his excellent comic timing and epic dance steps, on Thursday joined the ruling Shiv Sena in Mumbai, making a comeback in politics after a 14-year hiatus.

The former Congress Lok Sabha MP joined the Shiv Sena in the presence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde at the time of election season.

Govinda, who gave multiple superhit films in his decades-long career, made a blockbuster entry in electoral politics in 2004. That year, the "Hero No. 1" actor emerged as a "giant killer" when, as the Congress candidate, he defeated BJP stalwart Ram Naik in the Mumbai North Lok Sabha seat.

Shinde welcomed the 60-year-old actor into his party, saying he was a popular figure in all sections of society.

Speaking on the occasion, an emotional Govinda, who started his acting career in the 1980s and whose films were massy family entertainers, said after his first stint in politics from 2004 to 2009, he never felt he would again come back to the same field.

"I am back (in politics) after a 14-year-long 'vanvas' (exile)," he remarked.

The veteran actor, whose full name is Govinda Ahuja, said he would work in the art and culture field if given a chance.

Mumbai looks more beautiful and developed since Shinde has become CM, he remarked after his re-entry into politics, albeit under the banner of a different political party, which comes at a time when the country is in the midst of Lok Sabha polls.

The actor said development of the country under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was unbelievable.

Shinde, who took over as CM in June 2022, said there is positivity and prosperity in Mumbai and pollution levels are also coming down in the metropolis.

The CM maintained the versatile actor has joined his party without any pre-conditions and rejected suggestions that the entry was linked to elections.

"Govinda stands for progress. He is impressed with Modiji's development policies. He wants to do something for the welfare and progress of the film industry. I am sure he will be the link between the government and the film industry. He has joined us without any conditions," Shinde asserted.

"Govinda has ended his vanvas and come to Ram rajya," noted the Shiv Sena leader, whose party is an ally of the BJP.

"My government is pro-development and pro-people, and he was impressed (with its policies)," the CM said.

Asked whether the actor will be fielded from the Mumbai North-West Lok Sabha seat, Shinde clarified he hadn't put any conditions.

"He just wants to work for the film industry," he said, adding Govinda hasn't joined the party for an election ticket.

Shinde said the Shiv Sena, which heads the governing 'Mahayuti' coalition in the state, will soon release its list of Lok Sabha candidates.

"The Mahayuti is contesting all 48 seats (in Maharashtra). Ours is not a government which runs from home. We are field people and work for the welfare of people," the CM maintained.

The ruling coalition consists of the Shiv Sena, the BJP and the NCP led by Ajit Pawar.

To a question on NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar) leader Jayant Patil calling Govinda a "flop actor", Shinde emphasised that insulting a film artist amounts to showing disrespect to the entire entertainment industry.

Asked about Shiv Sena leader Vijay Shivtare contesting from the Baramati Lok Sabha seat, the home turf of deputy CM Ajit Pawar in Pune district, Shinde said his colleague has clarified that the party's decision on the matter was final for him and added "I am thankful to him".

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