A debate on the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) inefficiency in tackling dengue turned into a political circus at the general body meeting on Wednesday, thanks to Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) corporator Sandeep Deshpande’s remarks against the state government.
When the issue of a nine-year-old’s death because of alleged civic negligence was tabled for discussion, Deshpande said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was busy getting the numbers required to form the government, instead of focusing on the deadly disease.
The statement led to protests from BJP corporators including Jyoti Alavni, who said Deshpande should be worried about holding on to his seat, considering his party’s performance in the recent polls. Irked, Deshpande said Jyoti got elected only because of her husband and BJP MLA Parag.
Women corporators objected to the statement, and asked Deshpande to apologise. While Deshpande later apologised for his remark, the discussion over the disease, which has killed 19 people this year, got buried.
Alavni said, “It is a fact that the MNS fared poorly in the recent polls. He shouldn’t have spoken about the government because it is not related to the issue.”
Deshpande said, “What I said was not wrong, but I apologise if it hurt people’s sentiments.”
The Sena remained neutral as the two parties fought, but later got into a war of words with its ally BJP over the steps taken to tackle the dengue menace. While BJP MLA and corporator Manisha Chaudhary slammed the civic body’s lack of response, leader of the house Trushna Vishwasrao (Sena) said the civic body had taken effective measures.
Slamming the corporators’ behaviour, James John, an activist from Andheri, said, “It is ridiculous that an important issue such as dengue got buried because of petty politics. Actions such as these by our representatives ensure the BMC fails during each crisis.”