Congress leader Narayan Rane who is contesting the Bandra East by polls is trying to lure Christians and has urged them to vote for Congress in order to avert the split of secular votes. Yesterday, large number of Christians had visited churches to celebrate Easter. According to sources, Rane met Christians and appealed to them to vote for Congress. The recent attacks on Churches have already angered the Christian community as they had protested and forwarded a memorandum to the government to increase security of Churches and religious places. Rane has been aggressively campaigning for the election by holding padyatras and public meetings.
A cleric spoke to AV on the condition of anonymity and said, “The BJP government has failed to curb the attacks of churches hence we are unhappy with the party. This time, I have appealed to my community to vote for Congress which works for the interests of minorities.”
According to political observers, the by election is an acid test for Rane who was defeated in his home town Kudal during the Maharashtra assembly polls. Rane lost to Shiv Sena’s Vaibhav Naik by a massive margin of more than 10,200 votes. The result has led to a comeback of Shiv Sena in the Konkan.
Also, after his son’s massive drubbing in Konkan, the victory will help him regain his standing in state politics. Rane is fighting against Shiv Sena’s Trupti Sawant, the widow of former MLA Bala Sawant, and AIMIM’s (Raja) Rahbar Khan.
Rane attacked the state government and said that it has failed to deliver poll promise and prices of essential commodities have increased during the current regime.
He said, “Ghar wapsi and other programs of right wing groups have made the Muslim community insecure. The recent beef ban has affected many in Muslim community. Also, the Muslims, who are known to vote for the winning candidate, will vote for us to defeat Sena candidate.”
Rane also targeted Sena for failing to provide basic amenities to people despite being in power in BMC for a long period of time.
He said, “During the past 22 years, the Shiv Sena-BJP never provided even basic amenities to the people. Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) hospital wards are closed. There is inadequate water and bad road.”
“An MLA should be aggressive. You need an MLA in the Assembly who speaks and not merely listens. I have been a public representative for 32 years and I know how to work and get things done for my constituency. The Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) projects are in a mess and people are suffering,” Rane said.
Rane accused the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) of playing communal politics to split secular votes and create hurdles for him.
“The AIMIM candidate cannot even speak and he has to import speakers from Hyderabad. AIMIM is the ‘kaali maanzar’ (black cat signifying bad omen) of the Shiv Sena-BJP” he added.