Newly-appointed Mumbai Congress chief Bhai Jagtap on Wednesday said that the party was preparing for “ghar wapsi” of leaders, especially those with a sizable following among North Indian migrants, ahead of the BMC elections next year.
“We intend to bring these leaders back into the party fold and are working towards it. It will happen in front of all of you,” Jagtap told mediapersons.
In the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections, Congress had seen an exodus of its leaders to then saffron alliance of BJP and Shiv Sena. Jagtap expressed confidence that these leaders would be willing to come back to the Congress before the BMC elections.
Making the party’s poll plank clear, he requested Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to ensure that property tax is fully waived for those owning homes of 500 sq feet or less in Mumbai.
“This was a decision passed by the Assembly and I was myself part of the discussions. The previous government had issued two identical GRs (government resolutions) – one before the Lok Sabha elections and the other before the Vidhan Sabha polls. But when we went through the data, we realised that only 10 per cent of the actual amount had been waived. I request the CM to implement this decision in its entirety,” he said.
Jagtap further said that Congress wanted to provide free water to slum dwellers. When asked if this would mean legitimising encroachment, he said the previous Devendra Fadnavis government had already said that all slums till 2017 could be regularised.
Jagtap also demanded that the reservation of BMC seats be done every 10 years instead of five. He maintained that corporators are unable to undertake projects properly, as their terms are not assured beyond five years. The ruling Shiv Sena has also made a similar demand in the BMC.
Jagtap reiterated that Mumbai Congress hopes to go it alone on all the 227 seats of the BMC and that the party unit would convince the high command to allow the same.