Shiv Sena’s bastion, Dadar, was tense on Friday after Sena and Congress supporters nearly clashed.
Trouble began when Sena candidate and Marathi actor Aadesh Bandekar (42) arrived there to file his nomination and his supporters came face to face with those of former Sainiks, Congress minister Narayan Rane (57) and sitting legislator from here, Sada Sarvankar (55). Sarvankar filed his nomination from the Congress after being denied a ticket by the Sena.
According to a senior Sena leader, Sainiks saw Rane’s fleet within 100 meters of the election office and protested that he was violating election rules.
They started raising slogans and charged towards Rane and his son Nitesh. Congress workers tried to retaliate, but the police intervened.
Maharashtrian-dominated Dadar — part of the Mahim constituency — is crucial for the Sena. It is the only Assembly constituency where the party had a lead in the 2009 Parliamentary elections.
Both parties also launched into political one-upmanship.
“We were against election rules being flouted. As far as voters are concerned, their hearts lie with the Sena,” said Bandekar.
But Rane was quick to snub Bandekar. “The fight here is between the Congress and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). The Sena is out already,” he said. Builder Nitin Sardesai is the MNS candidate.
The area saw some drama earlier in the week when Sarvankar’s suporters hurled stones at Manohar Joshi’s residence to protest against Sarvankar being denied a ticket. Sarvankar, a staunch Sena loyalist until two days ago, blamed the incident on the Sena bosses.
“When my workers and I went to Matoshree, Uddhav and his team told me to go to Manohar Joshi’s residence because he was responsible for striking out my name.” Sarvankar said. “Even Sanjay Raut called saying that I should protest against Joshi.”
Thackeray, the party’s executive president, refuted the allegation. “The Congress is known for such wild accusations within the party and Sarvankar seems to have picked up the habit.” Raut called it Rane’s ploy.