Days before the civic polls are announced, allies Shiv Sena and BJP are in war mode again.
On Thursday, the BJP criticised its partner for rejecting a proposal that would have “benefitted the Marathi Manoos”. The BJP was referring to the Sena rejecting a policy that would allow BMC to renew leases and let the tenant regulate breaches within three years. If the lessee does not abide, then BMC can also take over the plot.
Without naming the Sena, BJP MLA Ashish Shelar, at a presss conference on Thursday, questioned its motives on development and said the BJP was ready to increase its strength in Mumbai. There are 4,177 plots in the city that the BMC has let out for a 30-99 year period.
The lease of 236 properties has expired. The Sena rejected the proposal as it does not want to renew the lease of the Mahalakshmi race course, which it wants to develop as a theme park — a demand that was a part of its 2014 election manifesto.
Shelar said, “Those coming in the way of redevelopment in the city will be answerable to Mumbaiites. Some 80% of the people staying in these properties are Maharashtrians. They cannot go for redevelopment without a renewal. The BMC will also benefit from this policy by collecting penalties. Why were their mouths shut when the policy was passed in the improvement committee? Those opposing the policy should make it clear if they are favouring any developers.”
The improvement committee has been under BJP for the past five years.
Trushna Vishwasrao, Sena corporator said, “We put the proposal in the dustbin as we do not want the race course lease to be renewed. We want the administration to bring out a proposal without the schedule W properties.”
The State cabinet recently put up a proposal to renew the lease for schedule W properties, which includes prime plots like the race course land and gymkhanas. The Sena opposed had it .
The Mahalakshmi racecourse’ 99-year lease expired on May 31, 2013. The 8.55-lakh square meter racecourse plot was given to the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC). As the state government owns 2/3rds of the property, its renewal has to be a joint-decision between the State and BMC, civic officials said.
Commenting on a pre-election tie-up, Shelar said, "The alliance will be decided by the chief minister. We are, however, ready to increase our strength in Mumbai."
Recently, there have been many instances of bickering between the allies questioning their tie-up ahead of the civic polls. On Thursday, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray also sent a strong signal that an alliance before polls might be unlikely. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had also remarked of corruption in BMC.