3 Dec / 2019

Congress candidate from Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg cavorts with saffron, faces ire

first_imgThe Congress decision to field Navinchandra Bandiwadekar from Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg constituency has come in for criticism after his photographs on the dais of right-wing group Sanatan Sanstha and his participation in the rally organised to support Vaibhav Raut, a go-rakshak from Nallasopara arrested for possessing arms, became public. Following the outrage on Twitter, sources in the Congress said the matter has been brought to the notice of the senior leadership and appropriate action will be taken. Mr. Bandiwadekar, president of the All India Bhandari Samaj Mahasangh, had participated in a rally to support Mr. Raut as he was a worker of the Mahasangh from Nallasopara. “I have no relationship with Sanatan Sanstha. I was there as Raut used to work for the community and I was told his wife and mother were treated badly by police. I do not support the ideology of Sanatan Sanstha,” he said. Maharashtra Congress president Ashok Chavan said the party was aware of reports regarding Mr. Bandiwadekar. “The Congress is against extremist organisations like Sanatan Sanstha. An appropriate decision will be taken after a detailed inquiry,” he said. In August last year, the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad raided Mr. Raut’s home and confiscated arms and ammunition. He was a member of the Bhandari community and co-founder of the Hindu Govansh Raksha Samiti, which is said to be affiliated to Hindu Janjagruti Samiti, an offshoot of Sanatan Sanstha. The Sanstha’s members have been named in the murders of rationalist Dr. Narendra Dabholkar, Communist leader Govind Pansare, author M.M. Kalburgi and journalist Gauri Lankesh.Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant issued a statement clarifying Mr. Bandiwadekar has no connection whatsoever with the Sanatan Sanstha. “Neither has he participated in the activities of the Sanatan Sanstha nor does he have any sympathy for it. Since there was pressure from the community considering rumours of presumbaly prejudiced action by police, he had to go as the president of the organisation,” said Mr. Sawant. He said Mr. Bandiwadekar strongly opposes the Sanstha’s ideology and followers and will continue to do so.last_img

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