Sena reluctant to share power with MVA allies in running BMC
The election to the chairmanship of the crucial civic committees is slated for Monday, and it is likely to see a three-cornered contest among the ruling Sena, the BJP and the Congress-NCPUpdated: Oct 01, 2020, 14:29 IST
The Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, a coalition of the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress, is ruling the state, but the allies are not on the same page about sharing power in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which runs Mumbai.
The Shiv Sena does not have a majority in the civic body after snapping its ties with former ally, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), last year, but it is not willing to share power with the Congress and the NCP, who are still in the Oopposition.
The BJP, which is the second-largest party, has announced that it would be sitting in the Opposition. The election to the chairmanship of the crucial civic committees is slated for Monday, and it is likely to see a three-cornered contest among the ruling Sena, the BJP and the Congress-NCP.
Significantly, MVA leaders have been discussing the possibility of contesting the civic polls, which are slated to be held in 2022, together.
However, the Shiv Sena doesn’t want to dilute its hold over one of the country’s richest civic bodies and has decided to field its candidates for all the committees.
The Shiv Sena has 97 elected representatives in the 227-member BMC.
Though the majority mark in the civic body is 114, the Shiv Sena has managed to cling to power because of a divided opposition.
The BJP is the second-largest party and has 83 elected representatives. However, it has decided to play the role of an opposition party, along with the Congress and the NCP, who have 29 and eight elected representatives, respectively.
Other smaller parties include the Samajwadi Party (SP), All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), who have six and two each elected representatives, respectively.
Elections will be held for the chairmanship of the standing committee, which has financial powers, the improvements committee that deals with land leases and other city properties.
Voting will also be held for the education committee that handles primary and secondary education in Mumbai and the BEST Committee that governs Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST).
Corporators elect the members of the committee, except for BEST, and, they, in turn, elect the chairman.
The representation from each party to these committees is based on the strength of its elected corporators. The members have a fixed tenure of two years, while that of the chairman is a year.
Non-elected persons can also be nominated by the parties in case of BEST.
At present, all these committees are dominated by the Shiv Sena.
The Congress and the NCP were hoping to control at least a committee each because they are a part of the MVA coalition government.
On Wednesday, Shiv Sena Corporator Yashwant Jadhav, who is also the sitting chairman of BMC’s standing committee for the last two years, filed his nomination papers for the third term.
Shiv Sena Corporator from Gorai Sandhya Doshi filed her nomination papers for the post of the chairwoman of the education committee.
The BJP has fielded Colaba corporator Makrand Narvekar and Kandivali corporator Surekha Patil for the post of the standing and the education committee, respectively.
The Congress has fielded Bandra corporator Asif Zakaria and Cmembur corporator Sangita Handore for the standing and the education committee, respectively.
The Congress has also announced that it would contest for the chairman’s post in all the committees. The party has claimed the support of the NCP and SP.
Ravi Raja, a Congress corporator and the leader of opposition in the BMC said, “There is no question of not fielding our own candidates. We are in the opposition and we will field our candidates for all the committees. We have the support of the NCP and the SP. We are not seeking support from any other party.”
The Shiv Sena is likely to retain control over all the committees since it enjoys a majority in all these panels. But the party’s dominance will signify that the bid to contest the 2022 civic polls as a single MVA entity is far from reality.
The BJP has maintained that it would field candidates for all the committees. The party is also open to all options.
Bhalchandra Shirsat, a BJP corporator and a member of BMC’s standing committee said, “We are fielding candidates for all the panels because we are the second-largest party in the civic body. We are the only opposition party in the BMC.”
Surendra Jondhale, a political analyst, said, “It is unlikely that there will be any cross-voting, where a Congress member will be supported by the BJP. Though the Congress does not enjoy the majority, it’s decision to field candidates signifies that the party wants to remain politically relevant. The BJP is fielding candidates because it also has to hold on to its position as the second-largest party in the BMC.”
He added: “Whether MVA allies will fight the 2022 BMC elections together will also depend on the sustainability of their coalition at the state level. If they don’t fight together, then it may also mean that the Shiv Sena does not want to share power with any other party in the BMC.”