Ahead of the BMC elections to woo the Jain community in the city, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis met a popular Jain monk Naypadmasagarji Maharaj. He was accompanied by MLA Mangal Prabhat Lodha and city unit chief Ashish Shelar.

The community has a significant vote bank with 18 lakh voters.

Naypadmasagarji has a huge following within the community and is also the founder of the Jain International Organisation (JIO).

“Post demonetisation, many of the traditional Gujarati and Jain voters have been upset with the BJP as their businesses was majorly impacted by the decision.

Naypadmasagar in nearly all his sermons was urging the community to use the polls to build pressure on their representatives to help shut slaughter houses on certain days of the year. He had also asked Jains to only vote for candidates who will assure that their demands are met.

“The community’s sentiments were hurt last year when the shutdown of slaughters houses on two Paryushan days was lifted. We cannot let that happen again. It is a very sensitive matter for us,” he had said in August last year adding that he has raised the matter with Fadnavis and other leaders.

In 2015, the controversial lifting of eight-day shutdown of slaughter houses in the BJP ruled Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation had led to a furore in the community. The ban was then curtailed to two days. In Mumbai too, the BMC shortened the four-day long shutdown to two days after several political parties supported the butchers and meat dealers.