Maharashtra BJP leaders on Monday in Mumbai met Governor S C Jamir, demanding immediate sacking of Minister of State for Rural Development Siddharam Mhetre who along with 28 others has been booked in the murder case of a BJP activist at a poll rally in Akkalkot constituency of Solapur district.
"Mhetre should be immediately dismissed from the Congress-NCP government in the state," a delegation of BJP leaders including state BJP unit Vice President Kirit Somaiya and General Secretary Vinod Tawde told the Governor.
The BJP leaders met Jamir at Raj Bhavan in south Mumbai. "The delegation told the Governor that the BJP candidate from Akkalkot was having interaction with villagers when a group of Congress party workers carrying weapons attacked him," a Raj Bhawan official said.
A BJP worker Bhimanna Kore was killed and three others were injured at Shevgaon village on Saturday in a firing during a poll rally of Siddramappa Patil, BJP nominee for Akkalkot assembly seat.
Alleging that the incident was an attempt to 'intimidate' voters, the leaders said since the police had charged the Minister under IPC section 302 (punishment for murder), he should be sacked immediately.
The delegation also requested the Election Commissioner to visit Akkalkot and deploy additional paramilitary forces to ensure free and fair elections. They also demanded that the BJP candidate be provided adequate protection.
"The Governor assured the delegation that he will take up the matter with Chief Minister Ashok Chavan," the official said.
Meanwhile, Congress has termed BJP's demand for action against its minister as "politically motivated".
State party president Manikrao Thakre said: "Let the inquiry take place. The truth will come out."
Union Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who is close to Mhetre since both belong to Solapur, said political rivalry between the groups led by Mhetre and the BJP candidate Siddramappa Patil was more than two decades old.
"Some people had gone to his (Patil's) rally to seek explanation on sugarcane related issues. Mhetre was not even present at the venue. Nobody resorts to such violence just because of old political rivalry. One person unnecessarily lost his life," he said. PTI