A no-confidence motion was passed by the corporators of Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) against Municipal Commissioner Tukaram Mundhe Tuesday. Moved by the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and backed by the Congress and the Shiv Sena, the motion was passed with 104 corporators voting in favour of and six corporators from the BJP opposing it.
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The motion was moved by senior NCP corporator Jayawant Sutar, who is also the Leader of the House, in a special general body meeting chaired by Mayor Sudhakar Sonawane. He was supported by Shiv Sena corporator and standing committee chairman Shivram Patil. An NCP corporator, who is allegedly absconding in an atrocity case, was absent.
The NMMC is controlled by the NCP. It is the first time that a no-confidence motion has been passed against its chief. There are, however, speculation that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who heads the urban development department and had handpicked Mundhe for the post, may put a stay on the motion.
The motion mentioned Mundhe’s “disrespect” towards elected representatives and his “autocratic functioning style”, accusing him of taking policy decisions bypassing the statutory standing committee and general body meetings, creating anger among the public against the corporators, and not attending standing committee and general body meetings regularly.
“It clearly shows the misbehaviour and dereliction of duty on part of Mundhe,” said Sutar.
During the meeting, Mundhe was present in the House but was not allowed to speak.
After the motion was passed, Sonawane said it would be forwarded to the Maharashtra government.
“Mundhe has zero respect for corporators who are elected representatives. He believes only in bureaucracy and does not believe in democratic values at all. Now, we hope the chief minister will take a note of the motion passed by us and will transfer him and send another officer on deputation,” said Sonawane, adding that a copy of the motion had been sent to the police commissioner asking him to take note of it.
“If Mundhe enters the premises of the civic body, it may lead to law and order situation,” said Sonawane.
“We have supported him in exposing the corruption. There is no truth about the claims that we passed the motion to suppress the scams. We wanted him to bring out all the scams,” he added. Mundhe, however, refuted all the allegations.
“All the allegations are generic in nature. I requested Mayor to allow me to speak on certain issues to which I could have given point-based answers but I was not allowed. There is no substance in the allegations. Now, the state government will take a call on it,” he told The Indian Express. Mundhe said he would continue to work as usual.
“I am still the commissioner and will continue my work in public interest. Nobody can take law in their hands,” he said.
Mundhe, who has cracked the whip on illegal constructions ever since he took over reins in April, is popular among the people.
Some residents’ groups have initiated campaigns against the politicians over the motion on social media platforms.
In 1998, a no-confidence motion was passed by the Thane Municipal Corporation against the then commissioner T Chandrashekhar “due to the insults inflicted by him on the corporators and obstruction caused in the various welfare works in different wards”.
While the resolution was passed with support of Shiv Sena and Congress, Chandrashekhar managed to retain his position after late Sena chief Bal Thackeray intervened following protest by residents in support of the officer. In 1999, another IAS officer Arun Bhatia had to face a no-confidence motion in the Pune Municipal Corporation and was transferred by the then government.