The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena are divided over moving a no-confidence motion against Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) chief Tukaram Mundhe. While the Shiv Sena has indicated that it would back the motion, the BJP has distanced itself from it.
Navi Mumbai Mayor Sudhakar Sonawane, who belongs to the Nationalist Congress Party, had on October 20 submitted a letter to the municipal secretary leveling ten allegations against Mundhe. On Saturday, Sonawane told The Indian Express that he was confident to conjure up the number for passing the motion, scheduled to be taken up during the municipality’s special general body meeting on October 25.
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In the 111-member house, a no-confidence motion would need 67 votes to be admitted. “I’m confident that all the councillors will back the motion. Even the BJP corporators are on our side,” Sonawane said.
However, BJP MLA Manda Mhatre, the party’s tallest face in Navi Mumbai, indicated that her party corporators won’t back the motion. “The Congress, NCP, and the Shiv Sena never discussed the motion with us before initiating it. While I was the first one to oppose Mundhe’s style of functioning, we have never wanted him out. He is doing good work against corruption,” she said.
While BJP’s local heavyweights say that they too have a score to settle with the bureaucrat, they do not want to be seen as pushing for his removal. Mundhe, who has cracked the whip on illegal constructions ever since he took over reins in April, is popular among citizens. Some citizen groups have already initiated campaigns against the politicians over the motion on social media platforms.
Secondly, with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis handpicking Mundhe for the Navi Mumbai assignment, the party is also wary that backing a no-confidence motion against him would embarass the CM and the BJP.
Shiv Sena’s senior corporator Vijay Choughule, meanwhile, said, “We (Shiv Sena) will back the motion. While we are against the corruption of the NCP in Navi Mumbai, we are opposed to Mundhe’s autocratic functioning style.”
Sonawane, meanwhile, said, “He (Mundhe) insults elected representatives. He has never followed the protocols. His so-called tirade against corruption is falsely hyped.”
Those backing Mundhe said that the campaign to oust him is being hatched since he has shaken up the local political landscape with his no-nonsense attitude.