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HVK Archives: Cong. exploiting temple issue in TMC elections

Cong. exploiting temple issue in TMC elections - The Times of India

Posted By Ashok V Chowgule (ashokvc@giasbm01.vsnl.net.in)
9 February 1997

Title : Cong. exploiting temple issue in TMC elections
Author :
Publication : The Times of India
Date : February 9, 1997

The demolition of a small Ganesh temple in front of the Thane
municipal corporation (TMC) building at Panchpakhadi here on
Saturday sparked off a controversy, with the Congress exploiting
the situation to woo voters for the TMC elections a fortnight away.

TMC deputy commissioner P.P. Raje, along with heavy police
bandobast, embarked on the demolition operation at 2.30 a. m. on
Saturday. Twenty-three members of the Bal Gopal Mitra Mandal,
which is the caretaker of the temple, tried to obstruct the
demolition staff. They were subsequently arrested and the
demolition carried out.

A slab which was pulled down fell on the Ganesh idol and damaged
it. This created tension throughout the day. There was a bandh in
the Panchpakhadi Chandanwadi area.

The temple on the footpath along the TMC building sparked a
controversy after some citizens demanded its demolition. Local
Congress corporator Narayan Pawar opposed the move, claiming the
temple was constructed long before. the TMC building. The
municipal authorities requested him to shift the temple to a
municipal garden opposite the present site. However, the local
people turned down this proposal.

Saturday's demolition gave Congress candidates an opportunity to
woo voters. Mr Pawar and Reshma Patil, both Congress corporators,
and Youth Congress activist Sanjay Choupane announced they were
undertaking an indefinite fast.

Incidentally, Mr Choupane's wife is a rebel candidate against Mr
Pawar, who is the Congress candidate.

Mr Pawar, Ms Patil and Mr Choupane demanded that the TMC not only
reconstruct the temple. but also apologise for its action.
Surprisingly, the Shiv Sena and the BJP kept away from the
controversy. City Congress president Subhasb Kanade visited the
spot and made a provocative speech.

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