Realising a goof up in naming two corporators for the position of Leader of the Opposition (LoP) and the party’s group leader in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the BJP on Tuesday nominated Mulund corporator Prabhakar Shinde for both posts. Officials from the municipal secretary department said a party cannot name two individuals as House/Opposition leader and group leader.
On February 27, the BJP had proposed Shinde’s name as the Leader of the Opposition and Malad corporator Vinod Mishra as the party’s group leader. “In BMC, with 83 corporators, BJP is second biggest party… we are proposing Prabhakar Tukaram Shinde’s name for the post of opposition leader,” read the February 27 letter by Mumbai BJP president Mangal Prabhat Lodha to Mayor and Municipal Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi. The BJP had also announced Jogeshwari corporator Ujwala Modak as the deputy leader and Andheri corporator Pramod Yadav as its chief whip.
However, Tuesday, BJP named Shinde as the elected group leader and demanded Shinde should be declared as the LoP on March 5. The party’s claim is likely to face legal hurdles as the post of Opposition leader is with the Congress, which earlier said it would not leave the position. Under Section 37-1(A) of Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC), Act, 1888, the post of LoP can be given to a leader of the second largest party (on the basis of number of corporators) and approved by the mayor. In 2017, Congress’s Ravi Raja was declared opposition leader after the BJP had refused the post, stating it would work as the ‘watchdog’ of corporation.