Constituency watch: Maharashtra

Anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare expressed his satisfaction in Ralegan Siddhi on Friday after a Mumbai-based Anti-Corruption Bureau special court sentenced former Maharashtra minister Babanrao Gholap to three years’ imprisonment.

Incidentally, Gholap was recently declared as the Shiv Sena’s candidate from the Shirdi Lok Sabha constituency, despite Mr. Hazare’s appeal to Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.

Presently an MLA from a constituency in Nashik, Gholap was social welfare minister in the BJP-Shiv Sena led Maharashtra government in 1995 and had resigned in 1999 due to allegations of corruption.

He was accused of being involved in siphoning off Rs. 4.5 crore from three State-run corporations into the bankrupt Awami Mercantile Bank, for which he allegedly received kickbacks.

“This judgement proves that most political parties still strongly shelter corrupt and criminal elements for selfish motives,” Mr. Hazare told PTI in Ralegan Siddhi on Friday.

Congratulating Milind Yawatkar, who had petitioned the court against Gholap, Mr. Hazare said that Mr. Yawatkar is a loyal follower of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar.

Mr. Hazare said that Mr. Pawar has made Padamsinh Patil, who was in prison for corruption and criminal acts, the NCP’s candidate from Osmanabad, adding that Mr. Pawar must learn from his loyalist Mr. Yawatkar and change the NCP’s candidate from Osmanabad.

He appealed to the people to vote for right candidates and not political parties, in order to save democracy.

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