Violence broke out in Panvel late on Friday night between Congress workers on one side, and Peasants and Workers Party (PWP) and Nationalist Congress Party workers on the other.
While the PWP claimed there was firing, the police have denied it. Eleven people have been arrested. Panvel police also arrested 51 people in Sukhapur area, near Panvel, for rioting.
PWP opposition leader in the Panvel Municipal Council, Sandeep Patil, NCP leader Sunil Gharat and his brother Santosh have been hospitalised.
They claimed they were shot at by Congress workers, and are reported to be out of danger. The PWP had earlier this year supported an NCP candidate for the PMC president’s post, defeating Prashant Thakur, the Congress candidate from Panvel.
Speaking from his bed at Lifeline hospital in Panvel, Patil said: “At around 9 pm, we saw Congressmen in a tempo distributing biryani in Panvel. We called the police and had the tempo confiscated. This angered them.”
He added: “Later, at around 11.30 pm, the Congressmen attacked us in revenge. They fired four rounds at us, and injured us.”
The police denied this. Suresh Bhosle, senior police inspector of Panvel police station, said: “It was political violence between the Congress and the PWP, with the NCP also getting involved. This rivalry has been simmering since the Municipal Council elections.”
“There was rioting, but no firing. The claims are wrong. We are investigating”.
Police have booked those arrested for attempt to murder, and rioting. The accused have been remanded to police custody till October 14. Police said they could take action against those hospitalised as well.
Former PWP MP and now Congress leader Ramseth Thakur, whose son is the Congress candidate from Panvel, said: “What has happened is wrong. There should be no violence in the elections.”
He added: “The PWP people came over to the Congress booth and got involved in heated exchanges and hooliganism. That’s how the violence began.”