Over two dozen Shiv Sena workers allegedly disrupted a programme organised by BJP MP Kirit Somaiya in suburban Mulund wherein an ‘effigy of corruption’ was to be burnt to mark the festival of Dussehra.
Police, however, said workers of both the parties clashed at the venue. Somaiya was also pushed by someone during the altercation.
“Sena workers disrupted the program and forced us to end it. They also took away the effigy,” a leader close to Somaiya alleged.
Somaiya, who represents the Northeast Mumbai constituency, said he will continue his fight against the “mafia-raj and corruption in Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM)”.
The Shiv Sena, however, defended its workers, saying they prevented a ‘mischief’.
MCGM is ruled by the Sena-BJP alliance for the last 20 years and civic polls are scheduled early next year.
During Sena’s rally at Shivaji Park earlier in the day, Sena President Uddhav Thackeray warned BJP about breaking the alliance and its consequences. “Feel free to break the alliance with us, then we will show you what a surgical strike is,” Thackeray said.
Somaiya, a former Mumbai BJP chief, has aggressively targeted Sena and has repeatedly alleged that civic body was riddled with ‘mafia-raj and corruption’.
“Today, Somaiya was at the event to burn the effigy of Ravan, which was a symbol of prevailing corruption in MCGM led by Shiv Sena. But the Sena workers disrupted our programme,” Prakash Gangadhare, a local BJP leader, said.
Gangadhare alleged that the “Sena workers also manhandled women workers of their party who were objected to their hooliganism”.
He claimed that the BJP workers gave ‘a befitting reply to the Sainiks’.
In an interview with a TV channel, Somaiya also claimed that goons arrived at the venue in three buses wielding weapons and started attacking everyone, including women.
Sena spokesperson Arvind Bhosale alleged, “From our point of view, Somaiya is himself a Ravan and therefore, he did not have any moral right to burn the effigy of Ravan because Ravan cannot burn himself.”
Defending the act by the Sena workers, Bhosale said, “In fact, our party workers prevented a mischief and the effigy of Ravan was burnt by the true followers of Ram.”
Bhosale also rejected BJP’s charges that the workers manhandled women workers.
“Shiv Sena has utmost respect for women. Our Sainiks kept distance from women,” he claimed and alleged that Somaiya is “taking the shield of women to gain sympathy”.
Mumbai Police spokesperson DCP Ashok Dudhe said an offence will be registered in this regard at Navghr police station.
Meanwhile, Somaiya and his supporters have staged a protest at the same venue and demanded strict action against the ‘mafia’ that is dominating the city and its civic body.
Somaiya has also stated that he has informed Mumbai police chief Dattatray Padsalgikar about the incident and will do everything he can to rid Mumbai of ‘mafia rule’.
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