Wanowrie villagers find anti-Shivarkar leaflets in their Sat morning news

Jul 16, 2012, 09:57 IST | Priyankka Deshpande

Pamphlets slipped into folds of Marathi newspapers don't name former Cong legislator or politician's kin, but words used by those behind insertions leave readers in no doubt about who's being panned for lack of development in area

Pamphlets criticising former Congress party legislator Chandrakant alias Balasaheb Shivarkar were distributed in Wanowrie village on Saturday morning along with Marathi newspapers. The pamphlets, which did not name anybody but were worded in a manner that left no room for doubt about who was being criticised, spoke about lack of development in the area. The leaflets were signed “All Wanowrie villagers”.  Typed in Marathi, the leaflets targeted Shivarkar and his family for turning a blind eye towards the pathetic conditions of the voters in their area. 

Shivarkar made light of the matter, saying all the charges in the pamphlet were false and that such tactics were a common thing in politics. He said he did not want to go into who was spreading such “false information” about him. Sher Mohammad Khan, a resident of Wanowrie village, said he received the pamphlet with a Marathi newspaper.  “When I enquired about it with other villagers, I got to know that the leaflets were distributed to newspaper vendors to ensure that they made their way to every home,” Khan said. “Although democracy gives us the right to express ourselves, it’s not right to spread such information that tarnishes someone’s image without any proof.”

Sidhharth Pawar, a resident of Hole Wasti in Wanowrie, said upon enquiring with the newspaper distributor of the area he learnt that a stranger had offered Rs 200 for the insertion of the pamphlets in the newspapers. “The distributor said that as soon as newspapers reached the area in the wee hours of Saturday, a stranger approached him and offered him Rs 200 extra for distributing the pamphlets along with the Marathi newspapers,” Pawar said. “For the past couple of days now we have been trying to trace the person who approached the distributor, but haven’t yet met with success.”

The leaflet indirectly accused Shivarkar of being responsible for turning the area into a shabby locality instead of developing it. The pamphlet also pointed out the delay in the construction of the cultural centre in Wanowrie initiated by Shivarkar when he was the MLA. Shivarkar, whose wife Kavita is a sitting Congress corporator from Wanowrie and son Abhijit was a corporator from 2002 to 2007 the area, said politicians often had to face situations where people unnecessarily tarnished their image. “If villagers had any problems with me or my family, then they would not have elected us for so many years,” he said. 

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