The no-confidence vote against Navi Mumbai civic chief Tukaram Mundhe may widen the rift between allies Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena, with both parties being on opposite sides of the controversy.
Amid a possibility of chief minister Devendra Fadnavis siding with Mundhe and suspending the no-confidence motion passed against him by the Navi Mumbai civic body, the Shiv Sena on Thursday said corporators from the satellite city had voted out the civic chief with a resounding majority and the state should respect the democratic vote.
In an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamana, the Shiv Sena said, “Whether it is at the Gram Panchayat level or the Vidhan Sabha and Lok Sabha level, any government runs on the basis of democracy. “
The party said a municipal commissioner is a representative of the government and should work within the administrative and legal framework, and it is not appropriate to prove one’s courage by overriding public representatives and deliberately putting them in trouble.
Corporators from the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) on Tuesday passed a no-confidence motion against Mundhe, an IAS officer of the 2005 batch, with a 105-6 vote in the 111-member house. Corporators from Congress and Shiv Sena supported the motion proposed by the ruling Nationalist Congress Party, while six BJP corporators voted against it. One corporate was absent. The state government, however, can use its special powers to suspend or rescind such a resolution.
While corporators accused Mundhe of acting arbitrarily and disrespecting elected representatives, the bureaucrat had gathered ample public popularity with his aggressive action against corruption and illegal construction.
Mundhe is said to have been hand-picked by Fadnavis for the post.
“If the six BJP corporators were given their independence to cast their vote, even they would have stamped their opposition to Mundhe,” the Saamana editorial said.
The Sena said the party has always supported honest and courageous bureaucrats such as GR Khairnar, a former civic servant in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, and T Chandrashekhar, the former Thane civic chief.
But in Mundhe’s case, ever since he took the reins of NMMC five months ago, works of not even Rs15 have commenced, while corporators have complained about his unjust action against project-affected people, hawkers and arbitrary decision making.
“An officer doesn’t become good just by winning public support by acting like a don or Robin Hood,” the Shiv Sena said, adding Mundhe has faced such problems in his earlier postings too and should look into his behaviour.
“A government must be run through self-control and unity. Tukaram Mundhe has a long career ahead of him. He has to do a lot of work, but his future seems difficult if he continues to work with a hot head and lack of self restraint. Today, Fadnavis might just stroke his ego for political gains, but what about tomorrow?” the Sena said.