An 'informal chat' with media by Maharashtra Congress leader Narayan Rane on the eve of Assembly bypoll in suburban Bandra, where he is the party candidate, on Friday led Shiv Sena to file a case of violation of model code of conduct against him.
A war of words broke out between Opposition Congress and ruling Sena over the alleged poll code violation by Rane ahead of the polling on Saturday. "This is a violation of the Election Code of Conduct.
According to rules, a candidate cannot engage in any public meeting or conduct a press conference 48 hours before the actual polling. But Narayan Rane has violated this clause by calling a presser," Sena MP Anil Desai told PTI.
"When this was learnt by the people of the (Bandra) constituency, they brought it to the notice of the (Sena) candidate. Accordingly, our chief election agent has filed a case with the Returning Officer," he said.
Congress leader and Rane's son Nitesh, however, downplayed the incident and claimed no press conference was called by his father. "They may keep saying what they like. Firstly, there is no such rule that bars us from conducting pressers. Secondly, we have not called any conference," Nitesh said. "Since it was my dad's birthday (on April 10), he invited the media to have a casual chat with him. There is nothing more to it," he added.
The Bandra bypoll has been necessitated by the death of sitting Sena MLA Prakash Sawant, whose wife Trupti has been fielded by the saffron party. Besides Trupti and Rane, MIM's Raja Rehbar Khan is also in the fray.
Rane, a former Chief Minister lost the last Assembly election from Konkan and is trying his luck from a constituency where Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, his political bete noire, resides.