Video: SP candidate Ayesha Shaikh caught distributing cash to voters in Govandi ahead of BMC polls
Samajwadi Party candidate, Ayesha Shaikh, was booked after a video of her allegedly distributing money to local residents in Govandi in exchange for votes in the upcoming BMC elections went viral on Tuesda
While poll candidates offering money in lieu of votes is not exactly unheard of, they are seldom brought to justice due to lack of evidence.
However, after the Shaikh’s video surfaced on WhatsApp and social media, the BMC lodged an non-cognizable offence with the Deonar police station.
In the video, Ayesha Anis Shaikh (46) can be seen pulling out bundles of cash from her purse and distributing it to a group of slum residents. The dialogue, which is in Marathi, roughly translates to, “Here, take Rs 15,000. Go home now and come to vote.”
Shaikh is a two-time Congress corporator, but switched to Samajwadi Party (SP) three years ago after the former denied her a ticket. SP has nominated 85 candidates for the upcoming BMC elections.
The former corporator will represent the party from ward 140 (Gautam Nagar-Shivaji Nagar in Govandi), which was declared reserved for women in the upcoming polls.
The returning officer of the M-East ward, responsible accepting nominations from candidates in the area, came across the video on WhatsApp and alerted BMC ward officer S. Kilje, who subsequently approached Deonar police station to lodge a complaint.
A senior official with Deonar police station told to Local Press Co that an “NC was filed and further investigation was underway”.
The candidate has been booked under section 171 B (bribery to induce voting) and other relevant sections of IPC.
Apart from the obvious embarrassment, Shaikh’s candidature for the upcoming civic polls will be declared invalid if the charges are proven during a police investigation.
According to a civic official, even if no complaint would have been filed, the video proof was adequate to initiate action against the candidate.
When contacted by a leading daily, Shaikh claimed that the video was likely shot before the polls were announced and that its sudden appearance was a conspiracy by her opponents.
Interestingly, while filing the nomination, Shaikh declared total assets worth over a crore, roughly twice of what she had declared during the 2012 civic polls.