Though its senior civic leaders were defeated in the February 16 civic polls, the Congress is trying desperately to get one of them as the leader of opposition in the newly elected civic house. For this, it is trying to force the government to amend the laws governing the BMC.
As per the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888, no nominated or co-opted corporator can hold the post of mayor, deputy mayor, chairperson of any committee, leader of the house or opposition leader in the BMC. The Congress won 52 seats in the civic polls, but save for 14 corporators, the rest are newcomers. Almost all senior civic leaders lost the elections. The party wants to nominate an opposition leader who is well aware of the civic body's functioning and can put a check on the ruling Shiv Sena-BJP alliance.
Instead of grooming a leader from among the elected corporators, the party wants to get one of its defeated, but experienced civic leaders for the job. City Congress leaders are planning to get one such veteran nominated to the corporation. Based on the strength in the civic house, the Congress can appoint of the five nominated corporators. However, since the nominated members are not directly elected by the people and hence barred from holding any civic house by the law, Congress leaders are forcing the state government to amend the MMC Act.
Through the amendment, a provision is likely to be made to let a nominated corporator become the leader of opposition.
Sameer Desai, who has lost the civic elections, is on top of the list of people who could be nominated. However, Rajhans Singh, current opposition leader in the BMC, said no name had been finalised. As of now, the Congress is backing three-time corporator Suresh Koparkar.
Co-opt corporators are eligible for all perks given to elected corporators, but cannot contest or even vote while electing a mayor, deputy mayor, or the standing committee chairman.