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Naik may field nephew for mayor’s post

Excise Minister and Navi Mumbai strongman, Ganesh Naik, may ensure Navi Mumbai gets the country’s youngest mayor.

mumbai Updated: Apr 14, 2010 01:31 IST
G. Mohiuddin Jeddy

Excise Minister and Navi Mumbai strongman, Ganesh Naik, may ensure Navi Mumbai gets the country’s youngest mayor.

After garnering a comfortable majority for the Nationalist Congress Party in the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation polls, Naik may field his 23-year-old nephew, Sagar, as mayor.

“We will ensure the city gets a capable Mayor who can ensure that our policies of development continue,” Naik said. “We have not decided on Sagar.”

Sagar was elected unopposed from the Khairane ward of Kopar Khairane, a traditional Naik bastion. Naik’s son, Sandeep, occupied the seat before he was elected to the legislative Assembly.

Sagar, son of sitting corporator and Naik’s brother, Dnyaneshwar, was non-committal. “I have joined the party as an ordinary worker and I am glad I am getting an opportunity to work as corporator,” Sagar said. “I cannot comment on anything else because that is the prerogative of my leaders.”

Naik’s older son, Sanjeev, was the first mayor of Navi Mumbai in 1995. Sanjeev, who is a Member of Parliament, is the youngest mayor of the country so far. He held office for a year in 1995 and then for two consecutive two-and-a-half year terms from 2000 to 2005.

The post was then reserved for women. Naik picked Manisha Bhoir and then Anjani Bhoir for the post. The candidates suited him because they did not harbour political ambitions and toed the line.

Now that the seat is open again, talks are that Sagar will be Naik’s channel through which he will ensure control of the municipal corporation. There are, however, some other names in the fray. “We will consider all our 55 candidates and then shortlist a few names and forward them to our party high command, which will take the final decision,” Naik said.