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Panvel residents come out in support of civic commissioner

The BJP has planned a no-confidence on March 26

mumbai Updated: Mar 22, 2018 00:52 IST
G Mohiuddin Jeddy
G Mohiuddin Jeddy
Hindustan Times
Panvel,Sudhakar Shinde,no-confidence motion
Residents and NGOs gather in Panvel in support of municipal commissioner Sudhakar Shinde on Wednesday.(bachchan Kumar/ Hindustan Times)

Hundreds of residents supported by 50 NGOs and eminent citizens of Panvel gathered at Middle Class Housing Society ground in Panvel on Wednesday, in support of municipal commissioner Sudhakar Shinde.

The meeting came days before the no-confidence motion that the ruling BJP has planned against Shinde.

With the police withdrawing permission for the meeting at the last moment, the organisers decided not to have speeches but instead covered their faces with piece of black cloth.

Kantilal Kadu, president of Panvel Sangharsh Samiti, said, “The police acted under pressure of the ruling party and withdrew permission for the meeting citing law and order situation. We had told the police that this is a peaceful meeting. This is a democracy and the people have the right to express themselves freely.”

The meeting was organised to show public support for the commissioner who has been targeted by the BJP, which has accused him of not doing much for development of Panvel.

The local leaders have been trying to get him transferred by using their influence with the chief minister and Mantralaya.

“If the commissioner is transferred before he completes his term, we will go to the court and appeal against the government’s decision,” said Kadu.

Shinde, who has taken on illegal constructions, encroachments, illegal hawkers and other violations in the city has people support. He was brought back as the city’s municipal commissioner because of residents’ demand after he was transferred before the civic elections last year.

On Wednesday, Arun Bhise, president of Citizen Unity Forum, led the crowd in showing support and pass the resolution expressing confidence in Shinde.

Kadu said, “We did not utter a word but through our action we sent a strong message of what the people of Panvel want. Supporting him is supporting a non-corrupt and transparent administration, all round development, free pavements, open spaces and much more.”

Police officials at the venue refused to speak on the permission issue and asked the media to leave the ground as soon as the meeting ended. A police officer on condition of anonymity said, “There was a fear of clashes between pro- and anti-Shinde groups and so we withdrew the permission.”

While the organisers had clearly said that only those supporting Shinde should come for the meeting, the BJP leaders said that they would attend the meeting.

PCMC house leader Paresh Thakur and party workers stormed into the meeting, soon after it started. They raised slogans of `Ayuky hatao, Panvel bachao’ (Remove the commissioner, save Panvel).

Assistant commissioner of police Prakash Nilewad swiftly moved in and asked the protesters to leave the venue even as Thakur questioned the police on how it was allowing the meeting to take place.

“The meeting is illegal as it has been held despite it not being given permission by the police. His fate will be sealed on March 26 when we pass the no-confidence motion against him,” said Thakur.

The Opposition condemned the attempt by the BJP to disrupt the meeting. PCMC opposition leader and Peasants and Workers Party corporator Pritam Mhatre said, “Coming to the public meeting was a stunt by the BJP to try to make their presence felt. It is not going to work.”

He added, “We support the municipal commissioner and hence came for the meeting to express our solidarity with the people of the city.”

The opposition has decided to stay away from the no-confidence motion planned by the BJP on March 26.

First Published: Mar 22, 2018 00:52 IST