Raj Thackeray may have been running a campaign against the Shiv Sena, but his party on Monday voted for a candidate of the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance in the elections for the chairman of the civic Improvements Committee.
Deviating from its stand to remain neutral in such elections, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) voted for BJP’s Manoj Kotak. The MNS, thus, ensured the defeat of Congress candidate, Suresh Koparkar, a Maharashtrian. Kotak defeated Koparkar by three votes.
The Improvements Committee is a crucial body of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and deals with property and land matters.
The MNS’s U-turn came on the day of the results of the civic elections in four cities where the party fared badly.
The committee has 26 members — 13 from the ruling saffron alliance and 13 from opposition parties.
MNS leader, Mangesh Sangle, voted for the BJP candidate. Faridabanu Durji of the Samajwadi Party remained absent. “I only obeyed my party chief’s order,” said Sangle. He insisted that his vote was for the BJP and not the Sena.
Advocate Ashish Shelar, BJP leader in BMC, said, “I appealed all political parties to vote for our candidate and MNS voted.”
Sena’s Sanjay Potnis was elected chairman of the BEST Committee after he defeated Congress’ Nitin Salag-are by three votes. Potnis got nine votes.