Mumbai, Jan 10 (IANS) A Mumbai NGO wants all Shiv vada-paav stalls in Mumbai, Thane and other parts of Maharashtra to go under cover like the statues of Mayawati and elephants have in the poll-bound Uttar Pradesh.
The NGO, Swabhiman Sanghatana, has made the demand in a letter to the Maharashtra State Election Commission (SEC).
Sanghatana chief Nitesh Rane has written to State Election Commissioner Neela Satyanarayan for immediately covering up these stalls, set up by the Shiv Sena, ahead of the elections to the civic bodies and Zilla Parishads in the state next month. The state election commission is yet to respond to the cover-up demand.
Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi in an unusual order has directed the Uttar Pradesh administration to cover up all statues of Chief Minister Mayawati and elephants in the state as they symbolise the ruling Bahujan Samaj party.
‘Since it (Shiv vada-paav stalls) was their party scheme, it is very likely that Shiv Sena could exploit it to garner votes in the forthcoming civic elections, including in Mumbai,’ Rane told media persons. He is the son of senior Congress leader and state Industry Minister Narayan Rane.
He added that since the elections have now been announced, it would not be proper to allow these vada-paav stalls to display Shiv Sena banners or hoardings.
The ‘Shiv Vada-Paav’, launched nearly two years ago with great fanfare, followed another scheme, ‘zunka-bhakhar’, in which unemployed Marathi youths were allotted such stalls at prime locations in the city.
There are around 250 vada-paav stalls in Mumbai and another 250 in Thane, a majority of them illegal, according to Sanghatana leader Sanjay Gurav.
Gurav said the unrestricted display of Shiv Sena name, symbol and flag on the Shiv Vada-Paav stalls could be construed as violation of the model code of conduct for the elections in Mumbai and Thane, scheduled Feb 16.