The police inaction against Congress minister Siddharam Mhetre, who’s embroiled in the murder case of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) worker Bhimanna Kore (50) at Akkalkot in Solapur district, has come as fodder for his rivals in the Assembly poll campaign.
The BJP had accused Mhetre of instigating the murder — Kore (50) was shot at an election rally on Saturday — but the minister for state for rural development denied it.
The police on Tuesday arrested six Congress supporters, taking the total number of arrests to eight.
“All of those arrested are Congress supporters. Based on their interrogations and preliminary investigations, we are trying to find out whether Mhetre instigated the attackers,” said Suresh Mekala, Solapur’s superintendent of police.
A first information report has been registered against Mhetre and 27 others.
“The investigation is on; it’s not fair to speak about action against Mhetre at this juncture,” said Special Inspector General (Kolhapur Range) Ashok Dhivare.
The BJP, meanwhile, is turning “violence by rivals” into an election issue. “The violence is directly related to the polls. We will tell voters how the Congress is resorting to violence,” said BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari.
After meeting Governor SC Jamir on Monday, BJP leaders met Election Commission officials in Mumbai. “Party leaders are also scheduled to meet Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla to seek Mhetre’s disqualification,” said Bhandari.
Mhetre is a close aide of Union Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who said: “There is no need to quash Mhatre’s nomination as these are only allegations made by the rival BJP.”
Kore’s relatives, angry at the police inaction, had refused to claim his body from the government hospital. They relented after District Collector Jagdish Patil’s intervention.