The Shiv Sena has hit back at the BJP over the latter’s remark that a “mafia raj” was running the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). The Sena alleged it was in fact the BJP that shelters the “mafia” within the party.
“A large number of mafias are being sheltered by the BJP. We have observed they are taken into the party just before polls after being granted parole and then they are again sent back to jail. They are free to go anywhere and there are no restrictions or boundaries on them,” said Dr Neelam Gorhe, Member of the Legislative Council and party spokesperson.
She referred to persons with criminal records such as Baba Bodke, recently in the news for being seen in a photograph with the chief minister; Pintya Dhadave from Pune, BJP corporator Pawan Pawar from Nashik and Pappu Gholap, among others.
Last week, BJP MP Dr Kirit Somaiya had organised a Dussehra event to burn the ‘Ravan of BMC Mahapalika Mafia”, which angered Shiv Sainiks and led to a scuffle. City BJP leaders have been repeatedly targeting the Sena with “mafia raj in the BMC” remarks. The civic body is controlled by the Sena.
Referring to recent reports about the complainant’s move to withdraw a sexual harassment case against sacked BJP youth wing chief Ganesh Pandey, Gorhe questioned the State Women Commission, asking why the case had not been resolved in the last six months. “The offences are non-compoundable. Why has the case not been resolved by the State Women Commission in the last six months. Who will watch the watchdog? The complainant said she has been going to the commission’s office for the past six months and now she no longer can do it. The Commission should clarify what action they have taken in the last six months. In the Kopardi case, the first hearing date has come but what happened in Pandey’s case? It is a law and order failure,” she alleged.
Gorhe said the National Women Commission and the Bombay High Court should take suo motu cognizance of the case.
The BJP denied all the allegations. “The BJP will never shelter leaders with a criminal background,” said Ram Kadam, legislator and BJP spokesperson.
Kadam added that the women commission was following procedure. “There is no attempt to shield anyone,” he said.
*NCP corporator joins Shiv Sena
On Tuesday, NCP corporator Riddhi Bhasker Khursange from Borivali (East) joined the Shiv Sena along with party workers. Khursange is the first corporator from the NCP to switch to another party since the last civic election.