'Netas are seeking political gains out of Shindewadi tragedy'

Jun 19, 2013, 08:57 IST | Priyankka Deshpande

Experts say politicians visiting the spot is a mere gimmick and the visits won't solve grievances of locals who are crying hoarse about illegal encroachment

With the 2014 general elections, and especially the state assembly elections, just around the corner, political parties are using the Shindewadi tragedy to gain political mileage, said political experts.

On the second consecutive day, political leaders continued to visit the spot where 14-month-old Sanskruti Wadekar and her mother Vishakha were swept away in water gushing down near the new Katraj tunnel on June 6.

Political mileage? Shiv Sena leader Neelam Gorhe visited the accident spot in Shindewadi yesterday, where two people lost their lives. File pic

On Monday Baramati MP Supriya Sule had visited the location, while yesterday Shiv Sena leader Neelam Gorhe paid a visit to the spot and met with the locals. She is understood to have enquired about their grievances on the illegal encroachments in the area.

“Such visits by the leaders of political parties are never meant to solve the issues of that particular area, but only to gain political benefits through it,” said Chandrakant Bhujbal, city-based political analyst from the think-tank, Political Research and Analyst Bureau. He added that for every political party the purpose of visit might differ. “For instance, the purpose behind the Sena leader’s visit would be to get back their old rural vote bank,” he added.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, who although didn’t pay a visit to incident spot, assured action against the guilty during his visit to the city recently. Experts said that these very political leaders, irrespective of their affiliations to political parties, chose to remain mum when illegal encroachments were spreading its tentacles at the hills and roads of Shindewadi and Khed Shivapur villages.

It has been more than 10 days since the Shindewadi incident when floodwaters not only claimed the lives of two people, but also farms, which were reportedly flooded for days. The district administration did initiate action by razing illegal constructions for two days, but stopped the drive to divert staff to the Citizen’s Facilitation Centres due to staff shortage.

“The political leaders themselves are involved in illegally acquiring the hills and lands on the outskirts of the city; so why would they be interested in taking strict action against culprits of the Shindewadi incident?” asked another political scholar Prakash Pawar. He said that these leaders are cunning enough to know that emotional support to the voters, especially after any tragic incident, would have a long lasting effect on the voters’ mind which usually turns in to their favour.  

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