The BJP plans to put forth its demand for the chairmanship of the crucial standing committee in the civic body more aggressively this time with the party tally going up by three seats and that of ally Shiv Sena going down by six in the elections. It is also eyeing the chairmanship of the improvements committee for the entire five-year period.
The parties had been in an alliance in the BMC since 1992 but the BJP chaired over the standing committee the all-important statutory committee with powers to sanction all financial decisions only twice and not even once since 1999.
The strength of Sena has gone down from 81 to 75 while that of the BJP has increased from 28 to 31. Therefore,it is totally justified for us to ask for the chairmanship to the standing committee at least once in the next two financial years, said Ashish Shelar,outgoing corporator and BJP leader in the BMC.The party had chaired the improvements committee and education committee twice and the BEST committee once after the 2007 election. It had demanded the chairmanship of the standing committee ahead of elections to these committees over the past few years but had been repeatedly turned down by the Sena.
Sena MLA and former standing committee chairman Ravindra Waikar said the BJP demand was not logical. If their logic is to be followed,then why cant a Shiv Sena MLA be made the Leader of Opposition in the Vidhan Sabha. We just have one MLA less than them. He said the demand came up every year though senior Sena and BJP leaders had already settled the political equations,by which the Sena would chair the standing committee.
Senior BJP leaders said the demand for chairmanship of the improvements committee for five years was a more realistic demand,which the Sena was likely to give in to. They said the improvements committee was also vital,as it takes decisions on land use,approves revisions to the development plan,modifies development control rules and changes existing land reservations.
Meanwhile,three-time corporator Manoj Kotak from Mulund is likely to be named the BJP leader in the civic body. Former education committee chairman Ram Barot and three-time corporator Dilip Patel are reportedly in a race for the deputy mayor post.