The Shiv Sena on Monday claimed that jailed NCP MLAs Nawab Malik and Anil Deshmukh not being allowed to vote in the state Legislative Council polls was like “trampling” on the rights of the two elected representatives. However, two BJP MLAs, battling serious illnesses, were brought in ambulances to vote during the Rajya Sabha polls from Maharashtra held earlier this month, an editorial in the Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ noted, and slammed the BJP over its “politics of discrimination”.
Maharashtra minister Malik and former state home minister Deshmukh, both arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in separate money laundering cases, are currently lodged in jail.
The Bombay High Court had on Friday rejected their pleas seeking temporary release from prison for casting ballot in the Maharashtra Legislative Council elections. Voting is underway on Monday for elections to 10 seats in the Legislative Council. The ruling allies – Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress – have fielded two candidates each, while the BJP has nominated five candidates.
In the Rajya Sabha polls to six seats from the state held on June 10, the Shiv Sena’s second candidate had lost to the BJP. The editorial in ‘Saamana’ said the Assembly membership of Deshmukh and Malik is still intact and they could have been brought for an hour to vote with all the necessary security arrangements.
“Not allowing them to vote is akin to trampling on the rights of the two elected representatives,” the Marathi publication claimed, adding that this is “politics of discrimination”.
Noting that the Enforcement Directorate had opposed their pleas in the court, the Sena said the “central agency is not the Supreme Court”.“But Mukta Tilak and Laxman Jagtap (both from the BJP) are brought for voting (in the Rajya Sabha polls) when they are in a critical state…when it comes to political selfishness, humanity is trampled upon and they (Tilak and Japtap) are wheeled-in on a stretcher for voting. The BJP can stoop to any level for achieving its political goal,” the editorial said.
“The central agencies are being misused, but how will things be if the court loses its consciousness?” it wondered.On the other hand, Dera Sacha Sauda chief Ram Rahim, serving a jail sentence, had been granted a month-long parole. He had earlier been given a similar concession ahead of the Punjab Assembly polls, the Sena pointed out.