'NCP using jailed criminal Pappu Kalani's photo to win by-poll'

The BJP has claimed that the NCP is using the photos of gangster-turned-politician Pappu Kalani who is convicted and in jail for two murders for a municipal by-poll in Ulhasnagar to strike fear into people’s minds and garner additional votes

Convicted and in jail for two murder cases, gangster-turned-politician Pappu Kalani still seems to hold enough sway to charge up the political scenario in Ulhasnagar.

Pappu can make you dance: After the candidate herself, the photo of Pappu Kalani (circled) is given the most space on the posters
Pappu can make you dance: After the candidate herself, the photo of Pappu Kalani (circled) is given the most space on the posters

Ahead of the January 18 by-poll for a municipal seat, the BJP has accused Kalani’s party, NCP, of using his photographs in posters to strike fear into the minds of people and make them vote for its candidate.

The by-poll is for the Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation from the Gol Maidan area. The seat was earlier occupied by an NCP corporator and is being contested by BJP and NCP candidates after his disqualification.

The BJP claims that the name of Kalani who is an ex-MLA and is serving a life term in connection with two murders (in 1990 and 1999) is whipped up during every election by the NCP to garner additional votes using the fear factor.

“It may not be legally wrong to use his photos on the posters, but it’s morally wrong to use the photo of a criminal to get votes,” said Kumar Ailani from the BJP, who is also a former Ulhasnagar MLA.

Members of the BJP even met the minister of state for home at Mantralaya on Wednesday, asking him to keep Kalani’s son and few other people out of Ulhasnagar a few days prior to the elections, to curb potential malpractices.

Fear of loss
The NCP, on the other hand, claims that the BJP is resorting to all these tactics because it is scared of losing the election. Jyoti Kalani, Pappu’s wife and the NCP MLA from the area, said, “People in Ulhasnagar still respect Pappu and vote for him.

People vote on his name and, thus, it was used by us even during the MLA elections. Using his name is neither legally nor morally wrong and the BJP is whipping up this issue simply because it is scared and does not have anything substantial to fight the elections on.”

“They wanted my son and some other people to be kept out of Ulhasnagar, but even that’s not happening. We will win the elections,” she added.

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