Cong Minister booked for murder of BJP worker

via TN Raghunatha | Mumbai published on September 28, 2009

A day after a BJP worker was shot dead at his party’s candidate Sidaramappa Patil’s election rally at Akkalkot in Solapur district, the police booked Maharashtra’s Minister of State for Rural Development Sidharam Mehtre and 28 others for murder and the State BJP leaders urged the Election Commission to disqualify the accused Minister – a Congress candidate in the polls – from contesting the October 13 State Assembly poll.

Reeling as it was under acute tension after BJP worker Bhishma Ishwarappa Kore (58) was killed and five other party workers were injured when some Congress workers opened fire at an election rally at Shegaon, the Akkalkot town observed a spontaneous bandh on Sunday.

The local BJP workers, led by national BJP general secretary Gopinath Munde and Vinod Tawde, took out a procession demanding the registration of a criminal case against Mehtre and other Congress workers behind Saturday evening’s firing incident. Hundreds of people joined the BJP’s morcha.

Talking to local mediapersons, Munde condemned the Shegaon incident and demanded that the culprits be brought to book. “The violence indulged in by the supporters of Mehtre clearly established that the Congress-led Government does not want to hold free and fair elections in the state. In the past, we had never witnessed the kind of Saturday’s incident or even incidents of booth capturing in Maharashtra. What happened yesterday is quite shameful,” Munde said.

The State BJP made a representation to both the State and Central election authorities, seeking disqualification of Mehtre from contesting the polls, in view of his alleged involvement in the BJP party worker’s murder.

After the BJP workers mounted pressure on them through the day for initiating action against the culprits behind Kore’s murder, the local police registered a case under section 302 (murder) of IPC against Mehtre and 28 others in the evening.

On his part, Mehtre sought to distance himself from Kore’s murder, by denying that neither he or his father Satlingappa Mehtre had anything to do with the incident. He attributed the incident to a personal rivalry between Baburao Patil and the deceased. Baburao Patil – who is one of the main accused in the Kore murder – is a close associate of both Mehtre and his father.

Meanwhile, five BJP workers injured in the Congress workers’ attack on the BJP’s election rally at Shegaon, have been admitted to Solapur civil hospital.

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