“Ajmal Kasab terrorised the city and the Congress is worried about him,” Devendra Fadnavis said. .


Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis joined issue with the Opposition today over the BJP’s choice of candidate from the Mumbai North Central constituency. Over the last few days, the declaration of Ujjwal Nikam, the former special public prosecutor, as candidate has sparked a row.

Mr Fadnavis said the Opposition “is worried about Ajmal Kasab” and wants to support terrorists by targeting Mr Nikam. “As per opposition leader Vijay Waddetiwar, Ujjwal Nikam insulted Kasab. Kasab terrorised the city and the Congress is worried about him. Mahayuti is supporting Ujjwal Nikam and MVA is supporting Kasab. Now you decide who you should vote for,”he said.

The BJP had dropped sitting legislator Poonam Mahajan and announced the name of Mr Nikam, who had made headlines earlier over his comments on 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab. His remarks had created a stir in legal circles and triggered a furious political battle. Mr Nikam was the government’s lawyer in the case.

The Congress had mocked the BJP over its choice. Senior leader Supriya Shrinate said the BJP had chosen a candidate whose “lie about 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab being served biryani in jail had been exposed in the past”.

The leader Mr Fadnavis referred to, Congress’s Vijay Wadettiwar,landed in a major controversy after he said Ajmal Kasab did not kill police officer Hemant Karkare, but a policeman affiliated to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the BJP’s ideological mentor, did. Ujjwal Nikam was a traitor who suppressed the fact. His comments have drawn flak from the Shiv Sena.

Of the10 Pakistani terrorists who attacked Mumbai in 2008 and killed 166 people, Ajmal Kasab was the only one to be caught alive. He was placed in a Mumbai jail for nearly four years and hanged in Pune in November 2012.

In 2009, then public prosecutor Mr Nikam had declared that Kasab had asked for biryani while being in jail. But following questions by the special court, he had said it was a story he “concocted”.

“Kasab never demanded biryani and (it) was never served (to him) by the government. I concocted it just to break an emotional atmosphere which was taking shape in favour of Kasab during the trial of the case,” he had told the media.