The Centre’s Economic Survey, the pre-budget document released on Monday, lauded Mumbai for having the most transparent civic body in the country. But the praise got allies-turned-rivals, Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena fighting again.
In the weeks running up to the civic polls, the BJP has been targeting the Sena and criticising its administration in the civic body as non-transparent. In fact, talks between the two parties to tie-up before the polls fell through on this point.
The Economic Survey tabled in Parliament by finance minister Arun Jaitley has now ranked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on top in India in terms of transparency and accountability. On a scale of eight, Mumbai and Hyderabad’s urban local bodies got the perfect score.
The central government’s survey has come in handy for the Sena, which has been battling the BJP’s charges. Using the survey as ammo, the Sena members congratulated Mayor Snehal Ambekar, civic chief Ajoy Mehta and the civic administration.
Later in the day, an irked BJP hit back and attacked the Sena over the road work and desilting scams. “Before applauding themselves, Sena leaders in BMC the must give us an answer about the audit of Rs70,000 crore from 2012-17, which was not available. Where did that money go? Who were the contractors that were paid?” said Ashish Shelar, Mumbai’s BJP chief.
He also said the findings of the Economic Survey were based on incomplete information and added the Sena was selectively using the Survey findings.
But Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray was quick to respond. On social networking sites, Thackeray asked the BJP if the party was doubting its own finance minister and the Union government. “It takes a lot of mistrust on their own Finance Minister and government and the budget to call the BMC non transparent, by them (sic),”Thackeray said.
The fight over how the BMC functions is a curious one, as the two parties were running the civic body together. After becoming big brother in the Assembly, the BJP has now disowned the Sena and blaming it for the mess in the civic governance.
Thackeray added, “The BJP, out of absolute opportunism and hypocrisy, is trying to cry over “transparency” in the BMC, when it runs the least transparent civic bodies.”
Thackeray also asked the BJP to open Union and state cabinet meetings for the press, people and opposition leader.
“It would only be better if the Union and state government dares to be as transparent as the BMC that has members of other parties in the Standing Committee, is viewed by the press and people (sic).”