Becoming an MP a good way to serve people: Hema Malini
Mathura MP Hema Malini says she decided to join politics because it gave her a good platform to serve the people after receiving so much love from fans as a cine star.
Hema Malini, known for popular 1970-80s films like "Seeta Aur Geeta", "Sholay" and "Dream Girl", took the political plunge in 2004 when she joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
"I have earned a lot of name and fame in the film industry. There are so many fans. They used to call me to attend public functions with so much love, so I thought I must give something back.
"Becoming an MP is a nice way to serve the people. PM Modi ji once asked me 'How do you feel when you serve people?' I said I feel really good because I'm able to help people," the 72-year-old member of Parliament said in the newly launched channel Sansad TV's programme "Aapke Saansad", which was aired on Thursday at 9.00 pm.
She served as a Rajya Sabha member from 2004 to 2009 and was appointed party's general secretary in 2010. Back in 1999, she had campaigned for late film star Vinod Khanna, the BJP MP from Gurdaspur, Punjab.
In the 2014 general elections for the Lok Sabha, Hema Malini defeated the Mathura incumbent, Jayant Chaudhary (RLD) and was then elected to the Lok Sabha. She retained the seat in the 2019 general elections.
"I never aimed to join politics because I'm an artist. At that time, my mother was very impressed with (former prime minister) Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji. She said 'You must do it because it's a very nice (political) party'. So I took the plunge into a field I had no idea about. It's important to learn about things you don't know anything about," she added.
As the MP of Mathura, the holy city and birthplace of Lord Krishna, Hema Malini said she wants to develop her constituency as an "international tourist destination".
Also a Padma Shri recipient, the actor-politician currently serves as the brand ambassador of Uttar Pradesh Braj Teerth Vikas Parishad.
"Mathura is very popular around the world, especially with Lord Krishna devotees. When I became the MP, I got the roads built. I have tried to manage the problem of salt water a lot, but the more you do, the less it seems. So many crores were spent on getting the water tanks installed."
An initiative has also been taken to promote the Braj culture, art, music, dance and plays, she said.
Hema Malini, a trained Bharatanatyam dancer, said a lot of options for the entertainment of the tourists are being developed so that they not only visit the temples in Mathura but also learn about the reasons behind the city's popularity.
She also said she is working towards maintaining the cultural heritage and architecture of the holy city.
"The architecture in Mathura is beautiful and people from all over the world will definitely come to see it. We are working in that direction. The work to beautify Keshi ghats is going on, just like Modi ji has got it done in Varanasi. Similarly, I also want every ghat in Mathura to be so beautiful that people are able to do Yamuna aarti from there," she added.
Under Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana, she has adopted three villages, namely Rawal, Managarhi and Paintha.
If Mathura is included in the National Capital Region (NCR), the possibility of the development of the tourism sector will increase manifold, she added.
"Along with the general development like flyover and roads, the culture of Braj must also be highlighted in Mathura. A lot of development has already been done here. It might not be visible but I'm very proud that I have done a lot."
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Sansad TV, which has been created by merging Lok Sabha TV and Rajya Sabha TV, jointly with Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla.
The new channel adds another important chapter in the country's parliamentary system, the prime minister had said.