Ahead of the fight for the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), an upbeat BJP has now thrown its hat in the ring for the post of leader of opposition in the outgoing civic general body, which will soon come to the end of its five-year term.
While the Congress, the second largest party in PMC, initially had the post, its strength reduced significantly after the defection, and eventual suspension, of six corporators from the party.
On Wednesday, the MNS had also staked claim for the post.
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In a communication to Mayor Prashant Jagtap on Thursday, BJP leader Ganesh Bidkar said the strength of both the Congress as well as the MNS had been reduced after the resignation of its corporators, and the BJP was now the second largest party in the civic body.
“The post of leader of opposition be given to the BJP corporator as per the law, that the second largest party should get the post,” he said, urging the mayor to immediately appoint a BJP corporator as leader of opposition.
As per the civic administration, as many as 13 corporators have submitted their resignations from the municipal corporation.
“Five members each, from the MNS and the Congress, have resigned, and three elected representatives of NCP have given up their membership of PMC,” he said.
He added that while the BJP has 26 corporators, the Congress has 24 and MNS has 23 members in the civic body.
“It is the power of the mayor… to take a decision on the appointment of the leader of opposition. The claim by MNS, as well as by BJP, has been communicated to the mayor,” said Municipal Secretary Sunil Parkhi.
The term of the present general body is till mid-March so any appointment made now would last till then, he said. However, if a decision is not taken before the code of conduct for the civic polls comes into effect, the civic administration would have to approach the Election Commission for guidance.
All eyes are now on the Mayor Jagtap, a NCP leader, about taking a decision on which party gets the coveted post.
“It is up to the mayor to take a decision now… the ruling NCP is likely to keep all rival political parties waiting… as whoever holds the post would be considered the main opposition party in the election campaign,” said a Congress leader.
The post would give an edge to that particular party to take on the ruling NCP in the election campaign, he said.