Will thwart BJP design to make Mumbai ‘doormat of Delhi’: Shiv Sena
On Wednesday, Devendra Fadnavis said that the BJP would win the 2022 civic polls and wrest control of the BMCUpdated: Nov 19, 2020, 16:14 IST
The allies-turned-rivals – the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena – are warming up to an intense fight to control the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the richest civic body in the country, which goes to polls in early 2022.
On Thursday, the Sena lashed out at the remarks of Devendra Fadnavis, the leader of opposition and former Maharashtra chief minister, on the previous day that the BJP would win the 2022 civic polls and wrest control of the BMC, which remained the former party’s bastion over the last three decades.
The Sena said it would thwart the BJP’s design to make Mumbai, “a doormat of Delhi”, alluding to the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.
In the last civic polls in 2017, the BJP and the Sena had contested against each other, despite sharing power in the Fadnavis-led government.
The Sena had fared marginally better than the BJP, and kept its sway over the 227-member BMC intact.
But, the BJP, which has been kept off the frame since last year’s assembly polls, is spoiling for an electoral fight.
Fadnavis was his belligerent self during the BJP’s Mumbai unit’s executive meeting on Wednesday.
“It’s a certain sign of downfall, when power goes to people’s heads. We should be prepared to fight the corrupt Sena, while keeping in mind the welfare of the Mumbaikars,” he urged his party colleagues at the meeting.
He asserted that a saffron flag would fly atop the BMC headquarters after the civic body elections in 2022, which would weed out Sena’s corruption.
Sanjay Raut, Sena’s chief spokesperson and a member of the Rajya Sabha (RS), took the battle to the opposition BJP’s camp on Thursday.
He told media persons in Delhi that Mumbaikars would never hand over control of the BMC to a party, which back people, who had insulted Mumbai and equated the Maximum City to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), while taking a veiled dig at the BJP’s support to actor Kangana Ranaut’s uncharitable remarks.
Raut alleged that the BJP would like to control Mumbai in a bid to usurp its land and businesses. “The people at the Centre do not want to keep Mumbai in Maharashtra, and we are their biggest hurdle… An actress, whose [structure] was demolished by the BMC recently, is a BJP worker. She called the Mumbai Police mafia and equated Mumbai to Pakistan. The people of Mumbai and Maharashtra opposed it. But who supported her? It was the BJP. Will the public allow Mumbai to be controlled by such people? We stood with the late architect and interior designer Anvay Naik’s family. But these people supported that TV anchor (Arnab Goswami) and held relentless protests. Does this show their love for the Marathi people?” Raut asked.
Raut made an impassioned plea whether Maratha legend Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s saffron flag atop the BMC headquarters implied unholy.
“Mumbaikars decided which saffron is pure and which one is not. They have hoisted Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s saffron flag for the last 30 years,” he said.
Sena minister Anil Parab said that Mumbaikars always supported his party and would continue to do so.
“Several people came, made statements and went away, but Mumbai remained the bastion for the Sena. History is witness to our party’s hold in the city,” said Parab in an oblique reference to Fadnavis.
Raut took a swipe at the BJP top brass over its alleged bids to cut off Mumbai from the rest of Maharashtra.
“They [BJP] are interested in the BMC because they want Mumbai’s land, it’s businesses and a hold over it’s booming stock market. This has been the pattern for the past 50 years. They want to make Mumbai the slave of Delhi and a doormat of the national capital. But we won’t let it happen. Mumbai belongs to the working class, not only industrialists and businessmen … Many have tried to remove the saffron flag [atop the BMC] and failed miserably. They will not be able to succeed for the next 100 generations,” he dared.