Culinary fights: Cong,Sena to battle it out at BMC next week

The culinary tug of war between the Shiv Sena and Congress will reach another level next week when a proposal for approval of handcarts for the former’s pet scheme Shiv Vada Pav will be tabled before the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

Written by Shweta Desai | Mumbai | Published:February 20, 2009 2:33 am

But Cong may manage to place its Kaanda Pohe along with Sena’s Vada Pav stalls

The culinary tug of war between the Shiv Sena and Congress will reach another level next week when a proposal for approval of handcarts for the former’s pet scheme Shiv Vada Pav will be tabled before the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

Determined to be a stumbling block in the scheme,the Congress has decided to approve the proposal with a rider that the Sena accepts its plan of 125 stalls of Kaanda Pohe.

After the Law,Revenue and General Committee approved the guidelines for licensing the handcarts and stalls for Annadata Kendra,the proposal for providing space for stalls and handcarts will be tabled in the civic body’s Improvement Committee on February 24. Only after getting a sanction from this committee will the proposal move for a formal approval in the General Body meeting of 247 corporators.

Improvement Committee member Amin Patel said that at the time of discussion of Shiv Vada Pav proposal,the Congress will moot a suggestion of equal number of stalls for Kaanda Pohe. “Only if this demand is approved we will back Shiv Vada Pav scheme. Otherwise the entire opposition (13 members of Congress,NCP,SP and MNS) will oppose the proposal,” he said.

Leader of opposition Rajhans Singh said that municipal commissioner Jairaj Phatak has given his nod to allot stalls for Kaanda Pohe. “Accordingly the demand will be made in the Improvement Committee,” he said.

Eyeing the launch of its Shiv Vada Pav on May 1(celebrated as Maharashtra Day and Labour Day),the Sena is in a hurry to complete the administrative sanctions and willing to even accept Congress’s demand. “We do not mind approving their demand. If they want they can sell their Kaanda Pohe on Shiv Vada Pav handcarts also,” said Sena leader and Standing Committee chairman Ravindra Waikar.

The Sena’s proposal seeks space for 125 Shiv Vada Pav handcarts and 215 stalls to set up Annadata Aahar Kendras. The latter project is to revive the unauthorised Zunka Bhakar centers which the Congress government at the state had scrapped in 2005. The locations for the stalls and handcarts will be near public places,gardens,hospitals,dispensaries,schools and in or near civic buildings.

After Sena unveiled its plans to brand vada pav,the common man’s burger,the Congress in BMC announced its plans to promote Kaanda pohe,the traditional Maharashtrian snack,by organising a similar sammelan (meet) at Azad Maidan in south Mumbai. Later,Singh wrote to Phatak demanding equal number of stalls for Kaanda Pohe. “If the BMC is going to provide handcarts for Sena’s plan,even we should be provided the same. Like Sena,even we want to generate employment opportunities for educated but unemployed youth and women self help groups,” Singh said. “The civic administration cannot create discrepancies between two parties and show its support for the ruling party. We will ensure that we too get the stalls,” he added.

The NCP,a Congress ally,has already protested against Sena’s Vada Pav scheme for using Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s name for a food item. It has threatened to bring a stay from state government as the scheme is in contradiction of the Supreme Court’s directives of disallowing hawkers on pedestrians and footpaths.

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