By the time campaigning for Maharashtra’s Assembly polls ended on Sunday, the state saw an unprecedented string of violent campaign-related attacks across parties.
In Pune, unidentified gunmen fired two rounds on Shiv Sena candidate from Wadgaon Sheri Assembly seat, Ajay Bhosale’s vehicle in Koregaon Park on Sunday. Bhosale escaped unhurt, his driver Shakeel suffered serious injuries.
Without naming them, Bhosale accused his opposing candidates of the attack. “We have some clues and are working on them,” said Pune’s Assistant Commissioner of Police Sangramsinh Nishandar. No arrest was made till Sunday evening.
In Kalyan, late on Saturday evening, Congress candidate Alka Awalaskar’s vehicle was attacked while she was on her way to meet her party workers at Titwala. Awalaskar alleged the attack stemmed from political rivalry.
In Karad in Satara district, unidentified people stoned Shiv Sena candidate Vasudev Mane’s vehicle, leaving him injured. Mane alleged his opponent candidates, without naming them, were responsible. In protest, Mane’s hometown Rahimatpur shut down for a day. In Dhule, Congress Rohidas Patil’s vehicle was attacked by unidentified people.
Reacting to the attacks on Sena candidates, its Executive President Uddhav Thackeray said: “These attacks have been carried out as a change of guard is imminent in the state, but our government will not spare any of the attackers”.
Solapur is particularly edgy, after the three politically motivated attacks recorded there. The first was at a political rally in Akkalkot town, where alleged supporters of Congress minister Siddharam Mhetre shot dead BJP activist Bhimanna Kore (50). Police arrested Mhetre’s brother Shankar.
The second case was on Saturday in Karmala taluka, where unidentified gunmen fired two rounds on a relative of NCP candidate Bapurao Bagal. The third came on Sunday evening, when unidentified assailants fired two rounds at the vehicle of Srikant Deshmukh, the Jana Surajya Shakti candidate from Sangola, Solapur. Deshmukh escaped unhurt said.
In Murbad in Thane district, a bodyguard of NCP candidate Kisan Kathore was attacked by a mob, when he was trying to remove a roadblock so Kathore’s vehicle could pass.
A Youth Congress leader Ranganathan Iyer (28) was allegedly abducted and assaulted by four unidentified men late on Sunday evening. Antop Hill police said he was returning to his Sion-Koliwada home after campaigning.