Thursday evening, the city witnessed a clash between rivals Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) activists, outside the election office in south Mumbai.
According to reports, numerous supporters of both parties had assembled for the filing of nomination papers for Mumbai South Lok Sabha constituency by Shiv Sena candidate Arvind Sawant and MNS candidate Aditya Shirodkar.
Then trouble started when activists started cheering their own parties and jeering the other. Soon, there was swift retaliation and this escalated into a near-riot situation.
Luckily, the situation was diffused after the police stepped in quickly, restoring order, but not before workers of both parties had pushed and punched one another. Soda water bottles and stones flew around like missiles, but fortunately, no passer-by was injured.
It is shocking that workers from two parties resort to violence at a time of filing nomination papers. One expects more maturity from grown men, who we shudder to think, may sit in chairs as leaders one of these days. Also, this is only the nomination stage; it makes one wonder what would happen when elections actually come around.
Meanwhile, the police need to be commended for controlling a situation that could very quickly have spiralled out of control. It is also unfair that this city pays the price for the perennial clashes by these two political groups. Mumbaikars need to stop living in fear of these parties and their ways, clashing with people or with each other in a game of political one upmanship.
Those detained by the police now need to be severely dealt with as a lesson to other political parties, for disrupting the city’s peace. It’s time candidates and supporters behave like aspiring leaders, worthy of the posts they are vying for, instead of indulging in infantile, dangerous ways of confronting their rivals.