Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray on Friday blasted Congress and its leader Bhai Jagtap for making a statement on splitting the governance of the municipal corporation into city and suburbs.
“Mumbai belongs to Marathi manoos and it will stay with him. Splitting Mumbai will not ease woes. A similar statement was made by Mumbai Congress President Kripashankar Singh and it seems the Congress agenda is to split Mumbai from Maharashtra,” an editorial in the party mouthpiece Saamna said.
Blaming migrants and Bangladeshis for the increasing number of civic woes, he said the state bodies such as the MMRDA were creating problems and the blame was being put on the civic body. “Even if the city governance is divided into five, it is not going to help,” he said.
The issue of the splitting the governance of Mumbai, as raised by Jagtap in a meeting with the chief minister on Thursday, also rocked the general body meeting with allegations and counter allegations from the Sena-BJP leaders and the Congress-NCP leaders, sidelining civic issues in the agenda.
“The Congress has been making attempts to separate Mumbai from Maharashtra since the era of Nehru. By making such statements, the Congress has insulted the sacrifice of 106 martyrs,” Shiv Sena leader in the house Sunil Prabhu said.
“The Sena will not allow anyone to separate Mumbai from Maharashtra or split the city at any cost,” Prabhu added.
Congress opposition leader in the civic body, Rajhans Singh said, “Dividing the city was never the Congress party’s stand. What was expressed was the personal opinion of Jagtap. The Congress will never allow any division of the city,” he added.
“If this is the case, then the Congress should seek Jagtap’s resignation and ask him to apologise for making such statements,” Prabhu added.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Ashok Chavan distanced himself from the controversy.
“The views expressed by Jagtap are his personal views and not the official stand of the Congress or the Maharashtra government.”