Shiv Sena corporator and MP Rahul Shewale has attended only two of the 35 civic general body meetings that have been held between April and October.
The civic general body is an assembly of all 232 corporators, where all policies and proposals on civic issues are discussed and approved.
The two meetings that Shewale has attended — a laudatory meeting in August where corporators delivered congratulatory speeches on his win and a special meeting on September 9 when the mayoral elections were held — had no deliberations or decisions on civic issues. His proposals for grant of leave for earlier months on account of his duties as an MP have been approved by the civic general body.
With five more corporators now elected as MLAs, activists feel that the rule of a person not holding membership of two houses must apply to corporators.
While MLAs who become MPs have to relinquish one of the two posts, there is no such rule for corporators.
“Even if there is no legislation, they should morally resign and make way for a re-election because all roles are equally important and one of them can’t be ignored to fulfil another. As a corporator, one has to be available for people in his or her ward, and the person has to also represent citizens in forums such as general body and other civic committees,” said Milind Mhaske, project director, Praja Foundation, an NGO that works on civic issues.
Mhaske said MPs and MLAs can always influence decisions on civic matters in their capacities and facilitate funding for civic projects and that they need not hold the corporator’s post for that purpose.
Shewale, however, maintained that his membership of the Lok Sabha has only added to his performance as a corporator. “I have been able to push for several forest and defence land clearances for projects such as a sewage treatment plant, coastal road and Doppler radar. I have raised several civic issues in the Parliament session and this has only benefitted the BMC,” he said.
Shyama Kulkarni, trustee, AGNI, said the way corporators are given an honorarium for attending general body meetings, they must also be fined for failure to attend.