Two days after the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation passed a no-confidence motion against commissioner Tukaram Mundhe, the issue continued to simmer Thursday with Mayor Sudhakar Sonawane threatening to resign if Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis did not decide on the motion soon. While the Shiv Sena said the state government should respect the democratic vote behind the motion, the CM spoke out in support of Mundhe, saying the latter had been doing good work.
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On Thursday, Sonawane wrote to Mundhe and all other heads of departments in the civic body, stating that no file pertaining to policy decisions be sent to Mundhe. “After the passage of the no-confidence motion, Mundhe has lost all rights to head the civic body. So, I have asked the heads of all departments to take policy decisions at their level. Failing this, they would be held responsible for any legal issue that arises in the future,” Sonawane said.
He added that Mundhe’s decisions in the last six months were all “pre-planned”. “There is a big conspiracy behind his actions. Mundhe just wants to dismantle the control of an influential leader in Navi Mumbai. It is not democracy but an autocratic style of functioning. So, if Fadnavis does not take any decision, I will resign on moral grounds,” Sonawane said. The mayor is an independent corporator backed by the NCP.
On Tuesday, 104 corporators had voted in favour of the no-confidence motion moved against Mundhe by the NCP. While the Congress and the Shiv Sena backed the motion, the six BJP corporators had opposed it. The motion mentioned Mundhe’s “disrespect” towards elected representatives, his “autocratic style of functioning”, and accused him of taking policy decisions bypassing the statutory standing committee and general body meetings.
The Sena also asked Fadnavis to take the democratic route and remove the officer. “Since all the elected representatives are against Mundhe, the government must respect the majority,” the party said in an editorial in Saamana. “Even if Mundhe has done some work as civic chief, that does not mean corporators are not working in the public interest,” it said. The editorial added that Mundhe had faced similar issues at his previous postings. “He should introspect on this. Working like a ‘don’ or ‘Robin Hood’ to gain popularity does not mean the officer is good,” it stated.
Despite repeated attempts, Mundhe could not be reached for comments. Meanwhile, speaking to a news channel, Fadnavis said, “Mundhe is good officer and is doing good work. Mundhe’s transparent style of functioning has created problems for those who are running the corporation in a non-transparent manner. If there are problems in his behaviour, they can be worked upon.”