Mumbai

Pune Congress office vandalism: Bhor MLA denies any prior knowledge of incident

The Pune city police have lodged an FIR in the vandalism of the Congress party office premises in Pune by alleged supporters of MLA Sangram Thopate even as State Congress chief and Minister Balasaheb Thorat on Wednesday refuted suggestions of discontent brewing within the party.

On Tuesday evening, an irate group of alleged supporters of party three-time MLA from Bhor Assembly constituency Sangram Thopate had vandalised the Congress Bhavan for not giving him a Cabinet berth despite his family being firm loyalists for decades.

Acting on a complaint by city Congress leader Sachin Adekar, the Shivajinagar police on Tuesday night registered the FIR against unidentified persons for rioting and vandalism under Sections 143, 144 (pertaining to unlawful assembly), 146, 147, 148 (rioting) and 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of ₹50) under the IPC.

“I spoke with Sangram Thopate on Tuesday night. The Congress party is one family and he will get his due. He said he had accepted the party high command’s decision… Since we are part of a government which is a three-party coalition, we [the Congress] got fewer ministerial berths,” said Mr. Thorat, stressing on the need for all party leaders to work in harmony under the circumstances.

On his part, Mr. Thopate condemned the vandalism and disclaimed any prior knowledge of the incident, clarifying that he was in Mumbai on Tuesday and that he returned to Bhor only on Wednesday morning.

“I, too, came to know of this after seeing on television channels. I am collecting information as to which part of Pune — urban or rural — did these alleged supporters come form and whether or not they were indeed Congress activists or just a ploy by a mischievous party,” said Mr. Thopate.

The Bhor MLA said he himself had accepted the decision of the senior leadership and called upon his supporters to maintain peace and not indulge in any unlawful activity.

Mr. Adekar, who filed the complaint, alleged that between 5:30 and 5:45 p.m. on Tuesday, several party activists from the Bhor-Velhe-Mulshi belt had stormed into the Congress Bhavan premises armed with rods, sticks and stones.

“The vandals raised slogans in support of Mr. Thopate and against MPCC chief Balasaheb Thorat. Though city general secretary Ramesh Iyer and a number of workers attempted to reason with the irate supporters of Mr. Thopate, they were in no mood to listen and went about smashing window panes, damaging doors, destroying office literature, the furniture and the television set. A number of them also indulged in stone-pelting which resulted in injuries to some of our workers,” reads the complaint.

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2020 2:14:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/pune-congress-office-vandalism-bhor-mla-denies-any-prior-knowledge-of-incident/article30452045.ece

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