Mumbai: The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), trying everything in hand to win the Bandra (East) seat and increase its tally in the Maharashtra assembly, Sunday mounted a stinging attack on Congress candidate Narayan Rane using Srikrishna Commission Report and the bill banning animal slaughter.
Waris Pathan, the MIM MLA from Mumbai's Byculla, reminded the voters of the Bandra (East) constituency about Rane's opposition on the implementation of the Srikrishna Commission Report and also accused him being responsible for the ban on calf, bulls and beef in the state.
"Who passed the anti-slaughter bill? The bill banning cow slaughter was passed by the Sena-BJP government when Narayan Rane was the chief minister", Waris Pathan said.
:"Rane was also at the forefront in opposing the implementation of the Srikrishna Commission report which probed the 1992-93 riots", Pathan added.
"Muslims will never support him," he said.
Rane, who later joined Congress was formerly with the Shiv Sena. He was sworn in as chief minister of the Maharashtra state of India on 1 February 1999 as the leader of Shiv Sena- Bharatiya Janata Party alliance.
The Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill 1995, signed on March 02, 2015 by the president consequently banning slaughter of cow, calf and bulls, was passed during Rane's tenure as the chief minister of the state.
Pathan also said that MIM candidate Rehbar SIraj Khan, who polled about 24,000 votes in the October 2014 assembly polls, would better his vote share in the upcoming by-election.
"Our fight is against the Sena, and not the Congress. We will get support from non-Muslim voters as well. After seeing our performance in the Legislative Assembly in the last five months, people are confident that we are their voice in the Legislature," he said.
Narayan Rane on the other hand said the MIM cannot claim to espouse the Muslim cause.
"What did it do when the Muslim reservation was scrapped by the BJP government?" he asked.
Rane also targeted Sena for contesting the election on emotional appeal.
"Such emotional appeals and sympathy do not solve people's issues," he said referring to Bala Sawant's widow Trupti, who is the candidate in fray.
Sena MLC Anil Parab however said his party cadre is putting in all efforts to defeat Rane.
"All of us want Rane's political career to end in this bypoll, as the constituency is home of late Balasaheb Thackeray. BJP and RPI are supporting our candidate. Bala Sawant was a two-time MLA and thrice corporator from the area. The common man could identify with him," he said.
The Bandra (East) by-poll has resulted due to the death of Shiv Sena MLA Bala Sawant. While the Sena has fielded his widow Trupti Swant as its candidate, the MIM has fielded Rahbar Siraj Khan as its candidate.
Rahbar Siraj Khan had in the 2014 October assembly elections polled 23,976 votes - much more than the Congress candidate's 12,229 votes. Sena's Bala Sawant, who defeated BJP's Mahesh Parkar by 15,000 votes, had got 41,388 votes.
In the by-poll scheduled to be held on April 11, the BJP has extended support to the Sena candidate, whereas the NCP has declared support for Narayan Rane - the Congress candidate and a former Shiv Sena leader.