Mumbai: A tragic testimony to the city's fervour during election campaigning was witnessed on Sunday. Four loyalists of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) died and 11 supporters suffered minor injuries after one of the followers waving a flag hoisted to a metal rod touched a live high-tension wire during canvassing for NCP at New Shivaji Nagar in Kalwa on Sunday at 10.30 am.
Supporters were drumming up support for corporator Mahesh Salvi from ward 44 (A) when the incident took place. Eyewitnesses said that as the supporter's flag touched the overhead wire, current flowed down his body leading to severe burns. In an attempt to rescue the person, three other party workers also got electrocuted, while eleven others got injured as sparks flew in all directions.
While there was some confusion on the number of injured, Dr RT Kendre, Chief Medical Officer of Health, Thane Municipal Corporation cleared the air saying, "Four have died due to cardiac arrest due to shock and out of the fifteen brought to the hospital, eleven sustained minor injuries with 10 to15 per cent burns. The body of the dead will be released after the postmortem."
Cops have ruled out sabotage and are claiming that the accident will set a precedent for rules and regulations in the next corporation election in regards to height of flags and other safety concerns. "A case of accidental death has been registered. Right now it is difficult to say if anyone is responsible for the accident. But if any person comes and files a complaint, the corporator can be booked," said Ashok Dudhe, DCP Zone-I, Thane.
Terming the incident unfortunate, corporator Salvi has decided not to campaign for the elections. "I was not present at the spot when the incident happened. As soon as I got the news, I rushed to the spot. My wife Manisha Salvi has been the corporator for five years from ward 95, which is now divided into two wards 44(A) and 44(B) for male and female candidates respectively. Both, my wife and me have now decided not to campaign, and will let the voters decide our fate," said Salvi.
The four dead were identified as Ajay Pahadi Rajput (18), Ashok Pahadi Rajput (20), Anna Pahadi Rajput (20) and Pradip Gupta (28). Injured were Salim Pahadi Rajput, Arun Rajput, Ajay Rajput, Satyabhama Kharat, Kaviraj Pahadi Rajput, Sajan Pahadi Rajput, Sandeep Londhe and Chilkae Koma Singh.