Congress, NCP workers’ clash blocks highway

November 7th, 2011 - 9:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Ratnagiri (Maharashtra), Nov 7 (IANS) Traffic on the busy Mumbai-Goa highway came to a standstill Monday afternoon after supporters of two state ministers in the ruling Democratic Front alliance clashed here, police said.

Activists of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) blocked the highway around 3 p.m., protesting against the ransacking of Minister of State for Urban Development Bhaskar Jadhav’s office in this tourist town, allegedly by supporters of Industry Minister Narayan Rane of the Congress.

The blockade inconvenienced thousands of tourists from Mumbai, who were rushing back after the Diwali vacations for the reopening of schools and colleges from Tuesday.

The NCP activists vandalised the local Congress office here and some even attempted to set it on fire.

“We are investigating the issue. So far we have not made any arrests,” a police officer said.

Konkan region strongmen Rane and Jadhav have been engaged in a war of words in the past few days as the civic elections in various towns and cities are round the corner.

Rane has targeted the Shiv Sena, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the ruling coalition ally NCP during his mass-contact programs in the coastal region.

Jadhav’s supporters alleged that Rane’s son and Congress MP Nilesh Rane arrived with five vehicle loads of supporters who smashed his (Jadhav’s) office Monday afternoon.

“They did not even spare images of Lord Ganesh and Chhatrapati Shivaji which were installed in his chamber,” a supporter told reporters.

On his part, Jadhav said that Rane is like a one-man leader in his party with no support.

“My party is fully behind me. This (violence) appears to be his culture,” Jadhav said.

However, senior Congress leaders in the state have chosen to keep mum on the ongoing war between two heavyweights from the Konkan region, where the Congress and NCP are attempting to upstage the Shiv Sena in the ensuing local polls.

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