Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan on Saturday said a gang war-like situation is prevailing in Palghar, where a Lok Sabha by-poll is scheduled for May 28. “The situation in Palghar is no less than a gang-war. We doubt if the election can be held in a free and fair manner,” he said, referring to the face-off between ruling allies BJP and Shiv Sena during the ongoing campaign.
“This by-election is not just about Sena and BJP. Congress, Bahujan Vikas Aghadi, CPM are also contesting,” Chavan said at a press conference in Mumbai. The former chief minister ruled out the possibility of the Shiv Sena being part of a Congress-led grouping of anti-BJP parties.
“Sena and Congress have ideological differences, and there can’t be an alliance,” he said. Asked about the Congress’s poor performance in the recent elections to the Maharashtra Legislative Council, Chavan said the party candidates lost due to the “money power” of the BJP.
“Indirect elections to the Legislative Council should be made transparent and open like the Rajya Sabha elections. It’s important as the BJP has the money to buy the entire country,” he said.
The Congress was in the position to win Parbhani-Hingoli local bodies seat, but still lost, he noted, hinting at the possibility of cross-voting. He will conduct an inquiry into how the party lost, Chavan said.
He also demanded that disbursement of compensation to farmers for the damage caused by pests be deferred till the by-election is over, as the disbursement at this juncture would amount to influencing the voters. “The government did not implement the compensation package announced five months ago until now. Two days before the election, it wants to influence voters,” he alleged.