The NCP on Monday alleged that there was a conspiracy to frame Opposition leaders by indulging in their character assassination, a day after an FIR was filed against party MLA Jitendra Awhad on charges of molestation.
“Awhad has been targeted from the day he started protests against the film Har Har Mahadev, against the distortion of facts from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s history. He was arrested illegally by police and then this case. The party stood with him then and stands with him even now,” NCP state president Jayant Patil said.
“In the video Awhad is telling the complainant woman to remain on the side of the road to avoid the crowd. The police must explain to us that how can this be a case of outraging modesty,” asked Patil.
He said that Awhad has given his resignation addressing the state Assembly Speaker but he stopped him from submitting it.
“I have spoken with our party president Sharad Pawar and we are of the opinion that he should not resign. We need him as an MLA,” said Patil.
The Mumbra-Kalwa Assembly constituency MLA, who was the Housing minister in the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, had tweeted on Monday morning announcing his decision to resign from MLA post.
He, however, maintained that irrespective of him being targeted, he will continue raising voice against the distortion of history of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
Leader of Opposition Ajit Pawar, who also rushed to meet Awhad on Monday, said that it was unprecedented that a former minister faced two FIRs in the span of 72 hours.
“The videos which have gone viral show no instance of molestation. The Chief Minister himself was present at the spot. The police must explain as to why these charges were pressed. It is nothing but an attempt to suppress the voice of the opposition,” said Pawar.
“We have been in power in this state for almost 17 and half years and NCP held the Home department. But we never acted against the Opposition through malice. Laws are being made to ensure that no one faces injustice. But if laws are going to be used to settle political scores then CM and DCM must intervene,” he said.
Recalling Awhad’s arrest last week when he tried to stop the screening of film Har Har Mahadev, Pawar said that the man who was allegedly manhandled has been saying that it was Awhad who saved him from beating.
“Despite this Awhad was arrested. Who is the handler behind this? That person must be brought to light,” he said.
NCP Lok Sabha MP Supriya Sule said that Awhad should not resign.
“Resignation is not an answer to such fake allegations. People have elected him and he is a popular leader. We want Awhad to continue working,” he said.
NCP women wing president Vidya Chavan too supported Awhad saying the police authorities are working under pressure from the state government and targeting the opposition.