Hingoli, February 10: The maverick Shiv Sena MLA from Kalamnuri constituency Santosh L. Bangar, has once again embarrassed the ruling MahaYuti government, while making an early campaign for the Assembly elections due around October 2024. Bangar (43), a school dropout, ‘addressed’ a meeting -- among some 50-odd schoolchildren of a primary school all aged below 10 years -- in Lakh village in his constituency.
He made a bizarre speech before the schoolchildren, videos of which have gone viral on social media, asking the children to abstain from eating for two days if their parents did not vote for him (Bangar) in the next elections. “If your parents ask you why you are not taking your food, tell them that first they must vote for ‘Santosh Bangar’ (me), before you break the hunger fast,” Bangar is heard pleading to the children, almost sounding stern. Abhishek Ghosalkar Dies: Shiv Sena UBT Leader Passes Away After Being Shot During Facebook Live in Mumbai’s Dahisar Area, Probe on; Horrifying Video Surfaces
He also made the little demure kids chant, in a loud chorus, his name at least three times ‘Santosh Bangar’, even as his own supporters and some school teachers standing around stifled their laughter. Bangar’s brazen antics immediately sparked a row from the Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) leaders who demanded action against Bangar for ‘exploiting’ small children to catch votes.
Congress’ Leader of Opposition (Assembly) Vijay Wadettiwar slammed the ruling MLA for instigating the kids not to eat for a couple of days if their parents do not vote for him (Bangar). “Despite the Election Commission of India (ECI)’s orders not to use children for political campaigning or any election related works, the ruling party legislator is indulging this by going to a school for canvassing,” said a fuming Wadettiwar.
He sought to know whether the Education Minister of state is ‘sleeping’, and if the ECI would clarify if this right and will it take action against Bangar for blatantly flouting the election rules. In a sharp attack, Nationalist Congress Party (SP) MLA Rohit R. Pawar asked whether he (Bangar) is some kind of a ‘Mahatma’ for inducing small students to keep off food for two days unless their parents vote for him. “What is his big contribution to education in his constituency… Using children for politicking is a crime and action must be taken against such legislators,” demanded Rohit R. Pawar. Fire in Maharashtra: Blaze Erupts In Complex in Savedi on Ahmednagar-Manmad highway, Video Surfaces
Shiv Sena MLA Santosh Bangar Speaking with Children
संतोष बांगर तुम्ही पुन्हा निवडून आलात आणि पुन्हा तुमचे सरकार आले तर मुलांनाच काय त्यांच्या आई वडिलांनाही जेवण मिळणार नाही ....#SantoshBangar@RahulGandhi @INCIndia@IYC @IYCMaha pic.twitter.com/W2waEmism8
— Sonallaxmi Ghag (@sonallaxmi) February 10, 2024
Shiv Sena (UBT) National Spokesperson Kishore Tiwari said Bangar’s shameless appeal before such small and innocent children proves that he has “no face” to face the people and parents of his constituency due to his arrogance and high-handed behaviour in public. “It’s a shame to what level the MahaYuti legislators have stooped... Now, they are targetting children to ‘blackmail’ their parents into voting for them. Tomorrow, they will threaten other sections of society, like the first-time voters or women, with consequences if they don’t choose the ruling alliance candidates,” rued Tiwari.
Bangar is no stranger to controversies owing to his utterances and has several such faux pas to his credit in the recent past. During the vertical split in the Shiv Sena in June 2022, he had declared allegiance to the then MVA Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, but barely a day later, he proclaimed that his loyalties lay at the feet of the rebel leader, Eknath Shinde, later the new Chief Minister . In August 2021, Bangar once threatened to barge into the home of Union Minister Narayan Rane and hammer him, saying: “I have the guts to teach you a lesson”.
Later in August 2022, Bangar sparked an uproar after slapping a canteen manager for allegedly serving poor quality food to children Last month he had vowed “to hang himself publicly” if Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not re-elected in the 2024 elections. Bangar claimed that in 2019, he was elected MLA after he took the vow of the Lord Ganesh Temple in Hingoli, and now he has again taken another vow at the same temple praying for the return of Eknath Shinde as Chief Minister this year.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Feb 10, 2024 04:13 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).