Maharashtra polls: BJP supports Shiv Sena candidate in Vasai Assembly seat

Palghar: The BJP may have snapped ties with Shiv Sena, but it has decided to support the latter's sitting MLA from Vasai Vivek Pandit on the ground of fighting "criminalisation of politics".

In a letter to Pandit, BJP leader Vinod Tawde said his party's official nominee Shekar Duri would withdraw from the
constituency in Palghar district in support of Pandit.

According to the letter, Pandit had been fighting against goondaism and taking on anti-social elements in the Vasai-Virar region, an extended suburb of Mumbai. "BJP is strictly against criminalisation of politics. We will not tolerate any kind of hooliganism in any region of our State. Therefore, we have decided to support Vivek Pandit so that anti-social activities can be stopped in the region," the leader of Opposition in Council told PTI today.

As per the missive, in the past Pandit had taken part in an agitation launched by late BJP leader Gopinath Munde to get the region rid of criminal elements. BJP said it firmly believes that people with clean image should be elected as legislators.

The letter stated that if the party contests from Vasai, it will help get those with criminal background elected to the legislature. The letter nowhere mentions Shiv Sena by name and repeatedly refers to Pandit, whom it described as a "person who had been fighting an unending battle against goonda raj" in the region.

Last week, BJP ended its 25-year-old alliance with Shiv Sena after several rounds of failed talks on sharing of Assembly seats for the October 15 polls.

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