Mumbai: The Shiv Sena Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray party on Tuesday alleged that voters were being paid to choose None Of The Above or NOTA option in the November 3 Andheri East Assembly byelection in the city.
The party has raised this issue with the Election Commission as well as the police, said its senior leader Anil Parab The election will have ramifications in the coming Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) election too as for the first time it will see the combined strength of Maha Vikas Aghadi allies (Thackeray-led Sena, NCP and Congress), Parab said.
“Some people are being paid money to choose NOTA,” the former Maharashtra minister alleged. His party has video clips showing purported workers of the Republican Party of India (RPI) indulging in such acts, he said. The RPI (Athawale faction) is part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led Sena faction has fielded Rutuja Latke, the wife of incumbent Sena MLA Ramesh Latke whose death necessitated the election.
The BJP fielded Murji Patel, but he later withdrew his candidature after the party decided not to contest.
“On the one hand, the BJP withdrew its candidate saying it respects the tradition of not fielding a candidate against family members of deceased lawmakers. On the other hand, people are being asked to cast their vote for NOTA,” Parab said.
He exuded confidence that Latke will bag 98-99 per cent of votes and said she will complete the works which remained incomplete due to her husband’s death.
The constituency has issues like connectivity to the eastern and western suburbs as it is a major commercial centre, Parab said, adding that several Slum Rehabilitation Authority projects in the area are pending.