As the ongoing campaign for the upcoming Member of Legislative Council (MLC) polls gains momentum in Uttar Kannada district, Paresh Mesta, a late fisherfolk’s name is surfacing in the rallies time and again.
Former Minister R. V. Deshpande has questioned where Rs. 50,000 that he provided to Kamalakar Mesta, the father of deceased Paresh Mesta. He said that after the death of Paresh, on humanitarian grounds, he had met the family and provided Rs. 50,000 to Kamalakar Mesta in his personal capacity before the last assembly polls.
“ He later said in public that he does not require the money. If he really did not want the money, then why did he not return it to me till date”, Deshpande wondered.
It may be noted that Paresh Mesta (18) was found dead suspiciously at a lake in Honnavar town in December 2017. His parents had alleged it was not a case of drowning but he was murdered. After his death, the local community members, various organizations, and BJP workers had staged protests in Kumata, Sirsi, and other towns in the district, demanding justice. However, the protests in the town Kumata and Sirsi turned violent, following which the state government had ordered a CBI probe.
Meanwhile, during one of the campaigns in the ensuing Member of Legislative Council (MLC) polls in Honnavar, Deshpande said that he does not really wish to get the money back as he will be happy if the family of the deceased has used it. He stated that “ I would think that my small contribution has helped the family. But the BJP leaders had apparently forced the father to give a statement that he does not want the money”, he said.
Deshpande said that after the death of Paresh, the BJP had created a hue and cry against the death and demanded an investigation. “ The then Congress government ordered a CBI investigation, but today, even after nearly four years, we have no idea what happened to the investigation despite the fact the BJP is ruling in the State and at the Centre”, Deshpande alleged.
It may be noted that many people alleged the BJP of using the death of Paresh to further its political interests in the region. While the BJP leaders reportedly forced the father of Paresh to refuse the money, it is also alleged that the money was later taken away by some middlemen.
However, now with former Minister RV Deshpande wondering where the money has gone, the suspicion that it has been gobbled up by middlemen is gaining strength.
While Ex-Minister RV Deshpande raised the issue of Paresh, Former Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) of Congress, Satish Sail also challenged the BJP that if the party had a real concern for Hindutva and the fishermen, then it should have given the Member of Legislative Council (MLC) ticket to Kamalakar, father of Paresh and made him an MLC.
In all the campaigns for Uttar Kannada MLC polls, Sail is posing the same question to the BJP.
“ In the last assembly polls, BJP won in three districts of Coastal Karnataka by raising Paresh’s issue. At that time, they used the death of Paresh to become a political tool to win votes. They raised the issue intensely in the entirety of the coastal districts. They even wanted the then Congress government to order a CBI probe. The Congress government acceded to it and handed over the case to the CBI. But today, even after four years, the BJP which is ruling in the State and in Centre has failed to give justice to Paresh. This means that they used the death of Paresh only for political gains and not to seek justice”, Sail charged.
He said that at that time, Former District In-charge Minister, R. V. Deshpande not only offered money but also assured to provide a job to the family member in KDCC bank. “However, the BJP leaders pressurized the family not to accept the offer. They used the family for political gains and later disowned them”, he said.
He alleged that the BJP only knows playing politics in the name of Hindutva but has no real concerns for the Hindus.