The Maharashtra Police has booked state Bharatiya Janata Party President Raosaheb Danve for violating the election code of conduct, under the directive of the State Election Commission, an official said on Thursday.
Danve has been booked under Indian Penal Code Section 171-B, and Section 20(I) of the Maharashtra Municipal Council, Nagar Panchayat and Industrial Township Act, in an FIR lodged by the Paithan police.
The police action was initiated late Wednesday night following instructions from the Aurangabad collectorate after directions from State Election Commissioner (SEC) J.S. Saharia’s office, the official said.
Danve is accused of allegedly violating the Model Code of Conduct for the ongoing civic body elections in the state and luring voters in Paithan on December 17 to accept “Goddess Laxmi” if it came to them before the next day’s civic elections there.
Goddess Laxmi symbolises and is revered as the embodiment of wealth in India.
Following the statement, videos of which went viral on social media networks, the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party had demanded stringent action against Danve for his statement on the eve of the December 18 elections to civic bodies in Aurangabad, Nanded, Bhandara and Gadchiroli districts.
Later, the SEC demanded an explanation from Danve in which, among other things, he claimed to have been quoted out of context, but was not satisfied with his defence.
In the first video Danve says: “Today is December 17 and tomorrow is December 18, the voting day. The eve of election is important, as suddenly you get ‘darshan’ of (Goddess) Laxmi. If such Laxmi comes to your door, please welcome it.”
In his reply to the SEC notice, he said that poll-eve is important and suddenly in the night there will be obeisance to Goddess Laxmi, and if Goddess Laxmi comes the voters must ensure she does not return empty-handed.