September 27, 2018 4:29:24 am
In an attempt to whisk the mayor’s post away from the BJP, the Shiv Sena has extended its support to a mayoral candidate from a rebel group of Secular Alliance of India (SAI) Party, which is in an alliance with the BJP in Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation. The election to the mayor’s post would be held on Friday.
Sources in the civic body said that while the BJP has fielded Pancham Kalani for the mayor’s post, Jyoti Bhathija, from the rebel group of SAI party, has filed nominations for the post. Besides Shiv Sena, the Congress, NCP and others have also extended support to Bhathija.
In polls held for the 78-member House of UMC in March last year, BJP won 33 seats and formed an alliance with SAI Party that had won 11 seats. Sena had won 25, NCP four and the Congress one seat. Subsequently, BJP’s Meena Ailani was elected unopposed after the Sena, Congress and NCP boycotted the polls.
Sources said that BJP is ruling the civic body with the support of Omi Kalani, a local influential leader and the son of NCP legislator Jyoti Kalani. It was allegedly decided that BJP would have its mayor for the first one year and three months and then the post would be given to a supporter of Kalani. Ailani had recently resigned as per the arrangements, necessitating the election for the mayor’s post.
Of the 11 corporators from SAI Party, around eight have rebelled against Kalani’s nominations. “We have extended support to Bhathija for the mayoral polls and around eight corporators from the SAI Party are with us. We have enough numbers to reach the magic figure to win the polls,” said Gopal Landage, a Sena leader.
Landage added that the BJP had promised to develop the area but it hasn’t done anything in past one year. “Besides, we didn’t make any efforts to break the SAI Party… the corporators decided on their own.”
Sources said that the eight corporators have initiated the process to register as an independent group with the divisional commissioner to deal with the legal issues arising out of them supporting Bhathija. The BJP, however, has enough numbers to win the polls, sources added.
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