The Congress party is facing backlash following its decision to field Navinchandra Bandiwadekar from Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg constituency, after photos of him attending Sanatan Sanstha’s rally emerged on social media.
Bandiwadekar was seen at the right-wing group’s event, extending support to, an accused in the Nalasopara Arms case registered by the Maharashtra Anti Terror Squad (ATS).
Social media called out the Congress party’s decision saying that their decision to field Bandiwadekar was wrong in every way.
In August 2018, the Opposition parties in Maharashtra, led by Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) demanded a permanent ban on Sanatan Sanstha.
Navinchandra Bandiwadekar, speaking to The Hindu, alleged that he attended the rally in his capacity as the president of the All India Bhandari Samaj Mahasangh. He also claimed that Raut was a worker of the Mahasangh from Nallasopara.
“I have no relationship with Sanatan Sanstha. I was there as Raut used to work for the community and I was told his wife and mother were treated badly by police. I do not support the ideology of Sanatan Sanstha.”
Maharashtra Congress President Ashok Chavan said that a detailed investigation will be launched over Bandiwadekar’s links with the right-wing group and that an appropriate decision will be taken.
Meanwhile, Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant issued a statement clarifying Mr Bandiwadekar has no connection whatsoever with the Sanatan Sanstha. “Neither has he participated in the activities of the Sanatan Sanstha nor does he have any sympathy for it. Since there was pressure from the community considering rumours of presumably prejudiced action by police, he had to go as the president of the organisation,” said Mr Sawant. He said Mr Bandiwadekar strongly opposes the Sanstha’s ideology and followers and will continue to do.