Cong candidate’s poll office burnt down, party alleges BJP hand
Hours before the local body elections, the election office of Congress leader Shekhar Padvi, the party’s candidate from Tapi district panchayat, was burnt down by alleged miscreants on Friday night, police. The local party leaders, however, blamed the BJP for arson and submitted a complaint at the Nizar police station.
Padvi’s wife Pratima had won from the Shale-21 seat at Rumki talav village in Nizar taluka of Tapi district in the last election. This year, the party had given the ticket to Padvi, a lawyer and farmer by profession.
The Congress candidate, police said, had set up an election office at the tent on the outskirts of the village to carry out campaign-related work. The office, Congress workers said, was abuzz with Padvi’s supporters till late Friday night.
Police officers, who investigated the tent Saturday, said mattresses, some election campaigning materials, party symbols and photographs kept in the tent were damaged in the fire.
Nizar police sub-inspector N Z Bhoya said, “When we reached the spot, we found that somebody had set the election office of Padvi, which is located outside the village, ablaze. At present, it is difficult to say who was behind the incident, but we are carrying out a probe.”
The Congress candidate, however, has blamed the local BJP workers for the arson. “We don’t know who is behind the act, but we are sure that the accused is from the rival party. We had a bitter experience with the BJP candidate, Suraj Vasava, and his supporters. Three days ago, when we held a meeting near Ramji temple in Rumki talav village, BJP supporters had gathered and shouted slogans near the venue. We remained silent and did not react. Again, two days ago, some youths turned up at the venue of our meeting with Tapitharkala villagers and tried to disturb the event. We again remained silent and continued our activities. Now, our election office has been burnt and we suspect that some BJP workers might be involved. We have faith in the police investigation and requested them to find out the accused,” Padvi said.