Days before the crucial civic polls are announced, the uneasiness between the ruling partners is growing. This was more than evident on Monday when chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray came together to inaugurate six civic projects in the city.
Responding to Fadnavis’ allegations made last week that corruption was rampant in the Mumbai civic body, Thackeray insisted the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is “one of the cleanest and most transparent’’ civic bodies in India. Snubbing the CM, Thackeray even said the Mumbai civic body will once again see a Shiv Sena mayor in March (after the civic polls). Fadnavis, whose party has launched a full-scale attack on its two-decade-old partner in power, avoided any criticism of the Sena on Monday and even praised the Thackeray family for its contribution to the city.
Just a few days before the announcement of the elections, however, the two parties are yet to take a formal decision on continuing their alliance, although it is widely believed they will contest separately. After its success in the Assembly elections, the BJP wants to become big brother in Mumbai as well and hence is blaming the Sena of mismanagement in the civic body. The Sena is leaving no stone unturned in criticising the BJP.
Refuting the CM’s allegation that the BMC was not developing the city enough, despite having an annual budget of more than Rs30,000 crore, Thackeray said, “Both of us [the Sena and the BJP] have inaugurated various projects that were also appreciated by you (Fadnavis).......I would also like to thank the BJP corporators who have helped us run the civic body smoothly over the past five years.”
Both leaders unveiled a 6.5-foot portrait of social reformer Prabodhankar Thackeray (father of Sena founder late Bal Thackeray) inside the heritage general body meeting hall in the BMC’s head office. The two then inaugurated the Mumbai fire brigade’s coffeetable book on its history and new improved portal of the civic body.
While speaking about this portal, Thackeray said, “....There should not be doubts in anyone’s mind relating to the working of the civic body and if there are then they can go and verify themselves (through this portal). I don’t think there is any other civic body in the country which is as clean and transparent as the BMC.”
Along with this, online permission for new applications and renewal of Shops and Establishment license popularly known as Gumasta licence was also inaugurated. The civic body also made online application available for opening new or renewal of permissions for running private primary schools in the city, which was inaugurated on Monday. Further, Sanitary napkins’ vending machine was also inaugurated by mayor Snehal Ambekar in the presence of the two leaders.
While addressing the public, Fadnavis stuck to the development agenda and refrained from criticising Sena. He even praised Thackeray family’s contribution to the city and the social reforms in the state while talking about Prabodhankar Thackeray. Fadnavis said it is the virtues of the family and the teachings of Prabodhankar Thackeray that are continued even now.