Police detain Nitesh Rane for code of conduct violation

The Vakola police detained former congress MP Nitesh Rane for a violation of the election code of conduct on Saturday morning. According to the police, Rane was allegedly caught campaigning with his party members for his father Narayan Rane, who is a senior leader of party, in Bandra East.

Nitesh Rane
Nitesh Rane was detained by the police for a violation of election code of conduct

The latter, however, alleged that his son was wrongly detained. They protested outside the poll booth and also warned the Shiv Sainiks from entering the premises of the poll booth in the Sena’s vehicles.

The police interrogated Rane and released him an hour later with a warning. “My brothers and I did not have any Congress workers with us when we were spotted in the constituency. We were not campaigning,” he said, adding that the police action was baseless and politically-motivated.

voters at Valmiki Nagar in Bandra East, the Bandra Election constituency.
Voters at Valmiki Nagar in Bandra East, the Bandra Election constituency. Pic/Suresh KK

“The Shiv Sainiks are misusing their power and my son was wrongly detained by the police. Our party workers were at the poll booth to stop the Sena’s vehicle from entering the poll booth,” Narayan Rane told reporters.

‘The police did their job’
Sena legislator Anil Parab, however, justified the police action. “The police did their job. The election authorities had notified that no outsiders (politicians) would be allowed on the poling day,” he said. Shiv Sena leader Vinayak Raut and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) party leader Waris Parhan were also detained by the Kherwadi police for a violation of the code of conduct. The politicians were detained for staying put in the area in spite of a warning that barred outsiders from being present on polling day.

Mumbai police spokesperson Dhananjay Kulkarni said, “We detained Nitesh Rane, Nilesh Rane and many other party workers under the Mumbai Police Act 68. According to the law, we can detain anyone for 24 hours. This was not a major problem and we released all the party members on the same day.”

A game of hide and seek
Meanwhile, on Saturday, Bandra East, which went to Assembly by-polls, saw a game of hide-and-seek being played between political workers from places other than the constituency. Politicians from the Congress, Shiv Sena and AIMIM — the main three contenders — took shelter in slums while the police detained politicians.

Some leaders and workers evaded police action by crossing over to the neighbouring constituencies from where they coordinated with local volunteers from Bandra East. “The police thought that they could whisk the outsiders away by detaining big leaders. But we have proved them wrong. We stationed ourselves on the brink of Bandra East and West constituencies from where we arrangements to help our party,” a Congressman said, on condition of anonymity.

People affiliated to a party which had won a huge share from the slums in the October 2014 polls chose to operate from places the police could not reach easily. “Our top priority was to evade the eyes of the police who have been frequently monitoring localities such as Behrampada, Naupada and Bharatnagar,” said a party worker who claimed to be working for AIMIM along with four of his relatives from Byculla to mobilise voters.

Thackerays’ day out
The Sena did not face much difficulty, although Raut attracted the attention of police. The party’s president Uddhav Thackeray, his son Aaditya and other family members, roamed freely as they stay in the same constituency.

Sena ministers Ramdas Kadam and Eknath Shide, who are outsiders, created a flutter by visiting the Thackeray residence in Bandra East for a meeting. They left after the meeting.

District collector (suburban) Shekhar Channe explained that the police detained only those outsiders who they thought were involved in influencing the voters and that they were released after some time. However, he added that he has not received any information about the ministers’ visit to Matoshree.

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