APPARENTLY UNDER pressure from an influential Congress faction, Mayor Sunil Sood is finding it hard to change members of the Mayor-in-Council (MiC). Going by the present composition of the MiC, the corporators belonging to the Bhopal North MLA Arif Aqueel’s camp hold key departments in the Bhopal Municipal Corporation.
The internal party politics is making it difficult for Sood to change the MiC despite his making repeated efforts. Sood is a staunch supporter of Union Minister Suresh Pachauri. However, relations between Sood and Aqueel are strained for reasons beyond politics.
After the last Vidhan Sabha elections, Aqueel, who consolidated his base among minority voters in Bhopal North segment in the past one and a half decades, moved closer to the Pachauri camp due to changing equation in the party. Given Aqueel’s influence in this area, he may prove useful for the Union Minister in future as there is no other leader in the Congress who can match his popularity in Bhopal North.
In such a situation, Pachauri is said to be not allowing change in the MiC. As this will mean, going against the wishes of Aqueel. In the past six months, Sood made at least two efforts to change the MiC. Recently, a group of Congress corporators had also raised the demand pleading that it was promised that the MiC members would be changed after one and half years.
The group of corporators, which raised this demand, is said to be the supporter of Sood. This has also been compounding the frustration among the Sood’s supporters.
In the present composition, Aqueel’s brother – Amir Aqueel and his supporter Mohammed Sarwar are respectively the MiC in charge of important water works department and the rehabilitation and planning department.
Besides, two other Aqueel supporters — Munawwar Ali and Shahid Ali — are respectively in charge of the Health Department and the Food and Civil Supplies Department. In the 66-member BMC council, the Congress is in minority with 24 corporators. But, the Mayor belongs to the Congress in the direct elections.