Shiv Sena accuses BJP of using ‘money & Muni’ to win civic polls

Mumbai, Aug 23 (IANS) Two days after the BJP swept the Mira-Bhayander Municipal Corporation (MBMC) elections, the Shiv Sena on Wednesday accused its ally of winning the polls with the help of “money and Muni” (monk).

Attacking its ally, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said the BJP had used a Jain Muni to break the Sena vote bank among Jains and Gujaratis in the Mira Road-Bhayander twin townships in southwest Thane district in last Sunday’s elections.

“Using a religious personality to solicit votes is a clear violation of the election code of conduct. We have the tape recordings and we shall complain against the BJP to the central and state election commissions,” Raut told mediapersons.

Reacting, BJP MP from Mumbai, Kirit Somaiya said “Our friendly party has taken the defeat in MBMC to heart and is unable to digest it.”

“However, the people of the country and Maharashtra are solidly behind and have faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. You cannot win the peoples’ trust on the basis of threats and arrogance,” Somaiya said in a swipe at the Sena.

Raut said the BJP’s victory in MBMC is “a blot on the state’s culture” and earlier only the Jama Masjid Imams used such “fatwas” like the one by the Jain Muni in the civic body polls.

In a video message allegedly circulated during the elections, the Jain monk, Muni Nayapadmasagarji Maharaj, had reportedly urged his followers to vote for the BJP as it is “the only party which will uphold vegetarianism in Mira Road-Bhayander and the rest of the country”.

“Those who issue such ‘fatwas’ are political goons and I compare him with Zakir Naik. There is a danger to law and order on account of such religious leaders,” Raut said in a sharp attack.

He pointed out that in the past, the peaceful Jain community had supported and participated in all activities of the Shiv Sena, but the manner in which the Jain Muni had interfered in the MBMC polls is “a form of violence.”

“These people campaigning for vegetarianism society in Mira Road-Bhayander today will tomorrow demand that the jawans on the country’s borders should also turn vegetarians. Because of such elements, the country will be doomed,” Raut warned.

Raut’s ire stemmed from the outcome of the MBMC polls on Monday in which the BJP secured a stunning 61 seats, the Sena 22, Congress 10 and independents two in the 95-member house, while all other major national and state parties were totally wiped off.