The void left in the city after Bal Thackeray’s demise could either have some effect on the approach and functioning of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation where the Shiv Sena has been in power for the past 15 years.
Though son Uddhav Thackeray is known to monitor civic affairs, Bal Thackeray, too, used to make phone calls every day to the mayor and the civic standing committee chairman to keep tabs on both minor and major civic issues. Senior Shiv Sena corporators are lamenting that the absence of an overarching figure, who would oversee daily civic affairs, would make a huge difference in the working of the civic body.
“When I held the post of mayor [from 2007-09], he would call me with complaints pertaining to any issue that caught his attention. It did not matter if the issue was as petty as a clogged nullah in a certain part of the city,” said Shubha Raul, who was the third woman mayor of the city.
This instilled a sense of discipline in day-to-day civic affairs. Raul said Thackeray’s memory was so sharp that he would even follow up on issues after two days.
“Balasaheb made sure elected representatives were always on their toes. We would have to report to him on the status of the issue that he had asked us to look into, after two days,” she said. “There is no doubt that the absence of his guidance will affect the grooming of younger corporators,” said a senior corporator.