Shiv Sena corporator Rahul Shewale (38) was elected chairman of the civic standing committee on Monday.
Shewale, a corporator from Trombay, won with a close margin of three votes against Congress corporator Waquarunnisa Ansari.
Shewale is the youngest chairman of the committee in the civic history and will take charge from the incumbent Sena leader Ravindra Waikar, who was the chairman for the last four years.
There are 27 members in the standing committee, of which 25 voted. Rajendra Lad, the group leader of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, was absent while Shazia Azmi, group leader of Samajwadi Party, did not vote.
Winning the Standing Committee is important for the Sena as it is considered a vital seat of power, second to the Mayor.
The standing committee is the most important civic committee as it sanctions development projects and controls the
financial decisions of the civic body that has a budget of Rs 20,000 crore.
Shewale said to celebrate the 50 years of the formation of the state on May 1, the civic body would build a ‘Marathi Bhavan’ in Mumbai. He said, “To preserve Marathi culture, a Marathi Bhavan must be in the city. I will pursue the matter in the civic body and make provision for it in the 2010-11 budget.”
He said increasing the revenue generated by octroi, ensuring uninterrupted water supply and improving the health services were some of the priorities.
Civic sources said by nominating Shewale for the civic committee’s chairperson, the Shiv Sena has ensured that the corporators from eastern suburbs were represented.
After Datta Dalvi, who became Mayor of the city in 2005, no other significant post was given to any leader from the eastern suburbs.
Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Rukmini Kharatmol was elected as chairperson of the civic education committee.