Underworld don Arun Gawli’s daughter Geeta, who won the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections from Byculla, has now decided to back the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the civic body. She will head to Konkan Bhavan on Friday to register her support for the party.
Geeta’s announcement came after she held a late-night meeting with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis at his residence, Varsha, in south Mumbai. Sources said the BJP promised to make Geeta — who was elected from ward 212 — a member of the prestigious standing committee.
This move comes as the setback to the Shiv Sena, which was aggressively wooing Geeta. With 84 corporators in its ranks, the party has garnered the support of four independents.
In her previous two terms, Geeta had supported the Shiv Sena in the civic body. In return, she was made the chairman of the health committee and also accommodated in the standing committee.
On Thursday, Geeta went to Sena Bhavan to meet party chief Uddhav Thackeray. As he was not present, she spoke to Shiv Sena leaders Eknath Shinde and Anil Desai, who promised to make her a membership of various committees, and give her additional funds for her ward. However, Geeta allegedly insisted on becoming a member of the standing committee. She left without making a commitment to the party.
Her decision comes as boost to the BJP in its numbers game against the Shiv Sena.
Geeta’s party, the Akhil Bharatiya Sena (ABS), contested 30 seats, but was able win just one. Geeta’s aunt Vandana, who has been a corporator for the past 10 years, was also defeated.
Arun Gawli, who founded the ABS in 1997, worked hard for the residents of his ward. This earned him goodwill among Byculla residents, who elected him to the Maharashtra assembly in 2004. However, his luck ran out when he was arrested in 2008 for the murder of Shiv Sena corporator Kamlakar Jamsandekar. He is currently serving a life term in Nagpur Jail.