Days ahead of the election for the presidents and vice presidents of the Taluka Panchayats, a female Congress candidate from Karjan, Sumitra Vasava, who won from the Dhavat taluka panchayat seat has gone “missing”, according to the complaint filed by her family with the Karjan taluka police.
While the family claims that Sumitra and her husband have “not returned” from a pilgrimage they set out on, four days ago, the Congress party has accused the BJP of abducting Sumitra to “win her over”.
According to the police complaint filed by Sumitra’s mother, the Congress candidate who won from Karjan’s Dhavat taluka panchayat seat, Sumitra and her husband Kanti are missing since the last four days. In her complaint, Sumitra’s mother has said that the couple and their teenaged daughter had left to offer prayers at a family temple after Sumitra’s win in the December 29 polls but have not returned till date.
Sumitra’s disappearance has set off a political blame game between the Congress and the BJP. The Congress party, which has secured majority in the Karjan Taluka panchayat has accused the BJP of having abducted Sumitra to pressurize her to join the saffron party fold.
District Congress President Narendra Mukhi said, “Although her mother has not named anyone in the complaint, there can be no other reason for her to go missing than a ploy of the BJP to pressurize her to join the party as they are short in numbers in the Taluka Panchayat here.”
For the Congress party, the majority in the Taluka Panchayat poll has been sour even with the win on 11 of the 20 seats as the first term for the post of the President of the Karjan Taluka Panchayat is reserved for an SC Woman candidate. The Congress does not have any winning candidate that falls under this category, while the BJP, even with only eight seats in the Taluka Panchayat has a female candidate belonging to the SC category who would qualify to hold the post of the President of the Taluka Panchayat.
A party source from the BJP said that the two sides were wrestling for the post of the Vice President of the Taluka Panchayat, the election for which would be held on December 22. “The BJP with eight members is trying to woo the one independent candidate as well as Sumitra to join the party fold to make ten votes count in the voting of the Vice President. If the party is able to secure the post for one of the party winning candidates, then the Congress despite having majority in the board, will have to work under the BJP President and Vice-President.
Although, the party has nothing to do with Sumitra missing from her house, if she chooses to join the party later, she will be offered the post of the Vice President,” said the leader.
A police officer from the Karjan Taluka Police said the case had been registered against unidentified persons for the abduction of Sumitra, Kanti and their daughter. “The police teams are searching for the family as well as probing the possible involvement of the political parties in the incident of the missing candidate,” a police officer said.