Mumbai

SEC bans BVA workers from blowing whistles

Notice issued to Nallasopara MLA

The State Election Commission (SEC) has issued a notice to Nallasopara MLA Kshitij Thakur banning him and party workers from blowing whistles, the symbol of the Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA), during campaigning for the Assembly polls.

The SEC issued the notice after Satish Warekar, an Independent candidate from the constituency, filed a complaint against the BVA workers for blowing whistles during their rallies and causing inconvenience to residents in the area, especially the sick and elderly.

The SEC said the whistle is just a party symbol and blowing it amounts to misusing it. “If party members are found blowing whistles, strict action will be taken against Mr. Thakur for violating the election code of conduct,” the notice said.

In a letter countering the notice, BVA asked whether loudspeakers used during rallies do not cause noise pollution. Mr. Thakur said, “But how can one stop kids from blowing whistles? This is nothing but an attempt by the opposition to create nuisance and it does not make any difference.”

Mr. Thakur said when defeat loom, opponents start acting like sore losers. “I have no idea who this Independent candidate is. Often, opposition parties pay individuals to contest elections just to divide the votes and that might be the case here,” he said.

The symbol has been synonymous with the BVA and blowing whistles has been a part of the party’s campaign. The party had contested and won the Assembly elections in 2009 and 2014, and the local elections using the symbol. However, in the Lok Sabha elections, the BVA lost the symbol to the newly formed Bahujan Maha Party. Mr. Thakur had won the 2014 election by a margin of 54,499 votes, polling 1,13,566 votes. In the Assembly elections, Mr. Thakur will be contesting against Shiv Sena candidate and former policeman Pradeep Sharma.

Ahead of the last day of campaigning on Saturday, Divya Salaskar, daughter of police officer Vijay Salaskar, who died in the 26/11 terror attacks, endorsed Kshitij Thakur’s candidacy in a social media post. Salaskar and Mr. Sharma belonged to the 1983 batch and rose to prominence as encounter specialists. Both were known to be rivals in their days.

Mr. Thakur said, “I think she must have been following my campaign or searched for my name on the internet. Whoever wants to bless and support me are most welcome. I am honoured that she has considered me over her father’s former colleague. I called her personally and expressed my gratitude for supporting me especially at the time of elections.”

Mr. Sharma remained unavailable for comment. However, his public relations manager said, “Mr. Sharma does not want to comment on any matter of the sort. He is focusing on his election campaign and the development that he is going to bring after winning the election.”

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2020 10:44:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/sec-bans-bva-workers-from-blowing-whistles/article29739685.ece

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