MUMBAI: The Shiv Sena nominee is all set to become the Mayor of Mumbai as the BJP on Saturday announced it would not enter the race, putting to rest speculations of a fierce contest between them for the post after a fractured verdict in the BMC polls.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday made it clear that the BJP would not field its candidate in the election for any of the posts in the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), giving Shiv Sena a chance to have a complete hold on the civic body. The Shiv Sena has welcomed the BJP’s decision and thanked Fadnavis for “respecting the sentiments of the people”.
According to senior Sena leader Anil Parab, Vishvanath Mahadeshwar will be Shiv Sena’s candidate for the Mayor’s post and Hareshwar Worlikar is Deputy Mayor nominee.
Fadnavis also announced that the government would appoint an addituonal Upa-Lokayukta to ensure “transparency” in the conduct of BMC. He stated that a committee of three retired bureaucrats would be formed to invite recommendations to ensure increased transparency in all the local bodies across the State.
“The BJP shall act as ‘transparency guards’ in the BMC,” Fadnavis said. The Shiv Sena had won 84 seats while the BJP won 82 in the recent BMC elections.
The NCP has condemned the decision. “BJP has fooled the voters of Mumbai. Both the BJP and the Shiv Sena do not have a clear mandate. We would have appreciated if the BJP sat in the opposition,” city NCP president Sachin Ahir said.
State Congress president Ashok Chavan interpreted the decision as the CM’s attempt to save his own seat rather than an attempt to build transparency. “Fadnavis has let down the people of Mumbai. He has literally given the keys of treasure of Mumbai to those whom he had accused of looting it,” he said.
With the decision, the Shiv Sena would be under a moral obligation to continue supporting the State government even while its actions in the corporation would constantly be under scanner. The decision has also put a full stop on speculations of a mid-term poll. It has caressed Shiv Sena’s ego by giving them a free hand in the BMC.
This might also have another angle to it wherein the Shiv Sena might be compelled to support the BJP in other local bodies across the State.
The opposition, which is demoralised in the wake of one of the worst defeats in the local body elections in rural Maharashtra was solely banking on the possibilities of the Sena pulling out of the government during the budget session.
The next Mayor will be elected during the first meeting of the new House on March 8. Saturday was the last day for filing nominations for the post.
(With PTI inputs)