Mumbai civic body: 5-time Congress corporator likely to be leader of the opposition

Earlier, speculations were rife about the current leader of opposition Pravin Chheda, who lost to BJP candidate Parag Shah in Ghatkopar, as being a potential contender.

Written by Arita Sarkar | Mumbai | Published: March 8, 2017 3:03 am

After a long election season, the city will get a new mayor on Wednesday with Shiv Sena corporator Vishwanath Mahadeshwar set to be elected to the post in the first general body meeting of the newly elected corporators. The position of opposition leader is likely to be taken up by Congress corporator Ravi Raja Kondu. This after CM Devendra Fadnavis decided to give up BJP’s claim for the position. A senior leader in the party, Kondu has been with Congress since the 1980s and this is his fifth term as a corporator. “I have been a corporator since 1992 and barring the 2012 elections, I have never lost. Apart from bringing Mumbaikars’ problems to the civic administration, I plan to take up measures to keep a check on working of Shiv Sena and BJP,” said Kondu. He is also the spokesperson of Mumbai Congress. Kondu won from Ward 176, which includes Sion Koliwada. The 227 corporators, who will be inducted on Wednesday, will be joined by five other nominated councillors. Based on the number of seats won, while Sena and BJP can nominate two each, Congress can nominate only one.

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Earlier, speculations were rife about the current leader of opposition Pravin Chheda, who lost to BJP candidate Parag Shah in Ghatkopar, as being a potential contender. But the Congress instead picked Sunil Narsale, the district president of its South Mumbai division, and has registered his name with the civic body on Monday. The BJP is yet to submit the names of its nominees. However, sources within Sena stated that party leaders have picked the names of the leader of the house Trushna Vishwasrao and Arvind Bhosale as its nominated councillors. Bhonsale, a former aide of Sena leader and former minister of industry, Narayan Rane, had worked from Sindhudurg, where both Rane and his son were contesting, for the Assembly elections in the past. Bhosale had stopped wearing footwear for nine years as a mark of protest after Rane defected to Congress. He resumed wearing footwear in 2014 after Rane was defeated from Malvan in Assembly polls and his efforts were appreciated by the party leaders.

Meanwhile, the municipal secretary is seeking legal opinion on the appointment of opposition leader since the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act 1888 does not mention any provision for the opposition leader to be picked from the third largest party in case the second largest party withdraws its claims. “As per the tally, the BJP with the second highest number of seats has not officially communicated its decision to support the Sena. Thus, technically the post of opposition leader should be filled by a BJP corporator. Everything will depend on the BJP’s stand in the house on Wednesday,” added the official, indicating that the post is likely to go to Congress.

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