Mira Bhayandar Assembly: Video clips by Jain monks give religious twist to campaigning

Bhayandar: Two years after appeals made by a Jain monk to voters to exercise their franchise in favour of the BJP candidates contesting the Mira-Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) elections in 2017 had stoked a massive controversy, the same pattern is now being repeated in the ongoing campaign for the Mira-Bhayandar (145) assembly constituency ahead of the elections scheduled on October 21.

Two video clips with messages of different Jain monks – one openly seeking votes for the official BJP candidate Narendra Mehta and the other appealing the electorate to unite and ensure defeat of an aspirant who is neck-deep in corruption – have gone viral on various social media platforms. This despite of the fact that seeking votes in the name of religion, caste or creed is barred.

With sitting legislator Narendra Mehta (BJP), Congress strongman Muzaffar Hussan and BJP rebel- Gita Jain in fray, the Mira Bhayandar assembly is all set to witness a triangular battle. Interestingly, the Shiv Sena, which is now an ally of the BJP had not only strongly raised objections with the election commission in context to a video clip released by a renowned Jain monk asking people to vote for the BJP in the civic elections, but had sought the judicial intervention against the partiality for seeking votes in the name of religion and vegetarianism. While the BJP had single-handedly wrestled control over the civic body by bagging 61 out of the 95 seats, the Sena had remained a distant second by winning 22 seats. Apart from the Sena, other political parties such as the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress had registered their protest vehemently strong objections for dividing people on the basis of caste, creed or dietary preferences.

--Suresh Golani

Free Press Journal

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