Action Will Be Taken Against Guilty Irrespective of Party, Says Maha Home Minister

A day after a face-off between NCP and BJP workers at an event attended by Union minister Smriti Irani in Pune, Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil on Tuesday said police will register an offence against whoever is guilty irrespective of which party he/she belongs to. However, Maharashtra BJP’s chief spokesperson Keshav Upadhye, referring to several past incidents, claimed there was “state government-sponsored terrorism in Maharashtra with mute approval from (NCP chief) Sharad Pawar.” Pawar’s party shares power with the Shiv Sena and Congress in Maharashtra.

The NCP Pune city unit on Monday alleged that a woman party member was assaulted by BJP workers inside an auditorium during the face-off between the two sides when Irani was attending a book release event at the venue. An NCP leader had claimed the incident took place when the woman NCP member along with other party workers went to submit a memorandum to Irani over the LPG price hike.

To beat a woman office-bearer or any woman is objectionable. So, appropriate action will be taken, Walse Patil told reporters. NCP Maharashtra unit’s chief spokesperson Mahesh Tapase expressed displeasure over Irani and senior state BJP leaders Devendra Fadnavis and Chandrakant Patil not even condemning the alleged assault on the woman office-bearer.

This shows the Maharashtra BJP’s mentality. Women in the state will definitely remember this incident, Tapase tweeted. NCP spokesperson Clyde Crasto said it is not surprising that Irani, who once spoke vociferously (before 2014 when the BJP was in opposition) on price hike, is silent on the issue now. But #SmritiIrani ji, Women and Child Development Minister silent and not condemning a #BJP Man’s assault on a #NCP Woman in #Pune is deplorable and dereliction of her duty, Crasto tweeted.

However, BJP leader Upadhye targeted NCP chief Sharad Pawar over the issue. Upadhye also referred to past incidents of alleged beating of an engineer at state minister Jitendra Awhad’s residence in the presence of policemen and recent separate “attacks” on BJP leader Vinayak Ambekar and Marathi actress Ketaki Chitale by NCP workers. There is state government-sponsored terrorism in Maharashtra with mute approval from Sharad Pawarthe people’s right to live peacefully has been endangered due to the goondaism of NCP workers, a BJP statement said quoting Upadhye.

He claimed that the state home department, which is currently with the NCP, has given instructions to police to protect those who are allegedly engaged in spreading terror. The BJP leader further claimed that the ruling alliance has planned to “destroy political opponents through terrorism”.

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