Monday was not a good day for BJP Dhangar leader Mahadev Jankar. While the state Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development and Fisheries Minister was turned away by a community rally he was supposed to address, a video clip purportedly showing him asking an election officer in Gadchiroli to cancel the nomination of a Congress candidate in the Wadsa-Desaiganj municipal poll also went viral.
The Congress has now demanded Jankar’s resignation for violating the model code of conduct. The party has also made a complaint to the Election Commission in this regard.
The video clip purportedly shows Jankar calling up an officer during his visit to Wadsa-Desaiganj and asking him to cancel the nomination of a Congress candidate and keep the nomination of an independent candidate called Motwani. Jankar further directs the official to give Motwani the symbol of cup and saucer.
“Jankar is seen in the clip pressuring the election officer of Gadchiroli to cancel the nomination of a Congress candidate. Earlier, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also violated the code of conduct by announcing at Pen that CIDCO would purchase of the land of Pen Cooperative Bank. If the Election Commission doesn’t act in these matters, the party will launch an intense agitation,” a memorandum submitted by the party to the body said.
Jankar is heard in the clip telling the official that one Guru would meet him in this regard. The Indian Express spoke to Congress member Sanjay Guru, who said, “I am a Congressman but the party hasn’t given tickets to deserving candidates. Sejal Motwani, who is standing as an Independent, is also from the Congress family, but was denied the ticket for the municipal council chief’s post. The Jan Surajya party led by Jankar is supporting her. That is why we are fighting as a different panel and have sought Jankar party’s symbol of cup and soccer (cupbashi) for Motwani.”
Motwani is pitted against congress candidate Archana Dange, wife of Bhaskar Dange, who is allegedly accused in a fraud case. Sejal’s relative Jesa Motwani was Congress municipal chief in 2006 and is now fighting for a counselor’s post on a Congress ticket.
On Monday, Jankar had visited the Samasta Dhangar Samaj morcha, comprising about 2,000 members. He, however, was not allowed to speak by the protesters, who were irked with him for not doing enough to further their demand of reservation for the community. “Some people were angry that Jankar wasn’t doing enough to pursue the demand after becoming a minister. So, they did not allow him to speak,” said Ramesh Patil, convener of the morcha.