Mumbai civic body ward committee elections: BJP leaders cry foul play over Sena candidate’s victoryUpdated: Oct 16, 2020, 23:40 IST
A heated argument broke out between the leaders of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena along with that of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials during the ward committee elections after Mumbai mayor Kishori Pednekar on Friday announced Sena’s Deepmala Badhe as the elected chairperson for S and T ward covering areas like Mulund, Bhandup, Kanjurmarg and Vikhroli in the eastern suburbs. The ward committee has 20 corporators as members.
The BJP alleged that Pednekar wrongly declared one vote of the BJP corporator invalid, allowing Sena candidate to win the elections. Sena had nominated Badhe as their candidate for the chairmanship, while BJP nominated Jagruti Patil as its candidate.
Out of the total 20 voters who are corporators, Sena had eight, BJP had 10 and both Congress and NCP had one corporator each. During the election, NCP and Congress both voted for Sena that resulted in Sena’s candidate acquiring 10 votes.
However, BJP said their 10 corporators also voted for BJP’s candidate, but their one vote was declared invalid by the mayor.
Prakash Gangadhare, BJP corporator from Mulund said, “We will challenge this in the court, considering, technically, both Sena and BJP were to get 10 votes each. Further, after the draw, we were expecting the lottery system of picking up chits to decide the winner, but our one vote was declared invalid.”
In a statement issued, BJP said, “Our corporators raised objections and insisted on showing the ballot papers. Despite raising objections, the mayor did not answer them and ran straight home after wrapping up the ballot box. Ballot papers disappeared from the hall.”
Pednekar said, “Everyone knew that they have to sign inside the box against a particular candidate. In this case, the signature of one voter had gone outside the box, hence one vote was declared invalid. There is no question of foul play.”
Municipal secretary Sangeeta Sharma whose department conducts the elections was not available for comment.
However, a BMC official on conditions of anonymity said, “We have counted one vote of BJP corporator Rajani Keni from Mulund as invalid. The reason for this was because her signature went out of the designated box meant for signing against a particular candidate. We have categorically explained that signatures have to be inside the box.”
Keni said, “I don’t feel my signature had gone out of the box. They have not communicated us anything on why my vote was declared invalid. If my signature had gone out of the box, they could have shown the ballot paper and announced the same in the house. We will challenge this in court.”