The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections are scheduled to be held on February 21 and the results will be declared on February 23. Political parties are all set for the elections. Several corporate firms in Mumbai are likely to keep flexible office timings on February 21, polling day for the BMC elections, so as to ensure a larger voter turnout.
The major political parties contesting BMC polls are the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Shiv Sena, Indian National Congress (INC), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), Samajwadi Party, BSP and others. A total of 2,275 candidates, which include 1,190 males, 1,084 females and one transgender, are in fray for the 227 seats of BMC. According to the final list, released by the electoral department of the BMC, 13 political parties will slug it out to make it to the power corridors of the cash-rich civic body. Counting of votes will be done on February 23.
Meanwhile, a war of words ensued between the BJP and the Shiv Sena over the personal wealth of the Thackeray family. The BJP has flatly accused Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray of money laundering. On their part, Shiv Sena has challenged the BJP to probe the allegations. BJP MP Kirit Somaiya had alleged: “Why is Uddhav Thackeray not coming out clean about his personal wealth? The companies that were used by Chhagan Bhujbal to launder money are the same entities used by Uddhav Thackeray to clean up his money. Sena leaders have also used the same channels.”
At the same time, with just three days of campaigning left ahead of BMC elections, the Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) are also involved in a spat over a ground in Dadar as the venue for a party rally. It is a politically significant rally because it is being viewed as an attempt by MNS to retain its control over Dadar and Prabhadevi areas., which were the traditional bastion of Shiv Sena earlier before it was taken away by the MNS in 2012 civic polls.
And amidst all this, in a unique development, some 1,500 residents of nine housing societies in Borivali have collectively decided to vote for ‘none of the above’ (NOTA) in the polls next week. The members of the societies have said that the deemed conveyance of their buildings have been sold to two builders without their consent. They further added that despite approaching BJP member of parliament from the area Gopal Shetty, none has has come forward to help them out. The residents went on to allege that even when they approached Shetty with their demands some six months ago, he allegedly told them their votes won’t matter much for the party. READ: Here’s why 9 residential colonies in Mumbai are going to vote NOTA
In the meantime, the Bombay High Court had on Thursday directed the BMC to remove all illegal hoardings, banners and advertisements put up by political parties without permission, before the civic elections. It also directed political parties and its members to print on the hoarding/poster/banner the permission number and the duration for which the permission has been obtained from the civic body. A division bench headed by Justice AS Oka had observed, “All hoardings, posters, banners and skysigns and advertisements put up without the permission license number and the duration period on them, shall be removed by the civic body before the elections on February 21.”