SHIV SENA corporators, led by mayor Kishori Pednekar, staged a sit-in at the civic body’s headquarters on Wednesday after the deputy municipal commissioner, ward officers and staffers from municipal secretary’s department allegedly reported late for ward committees election, scheduled in the general body meeting hall.
The election for the chairman of six ward committees was held Wednesday with the Shiv Sena winning five and the BJP one. While the elections were scheduled to start at 10 am, Pednekar said, only one staffer was present at the poll venue at the time.
“All the corporators came around 9 am at the BMC. The election was scheduled to start at 10 am but none of the staff from the municipal secretary’s department, the ward officers or the deputy municipal commissioner were present. The Municipal Commissioner (IS Chahal) should be aware how his administration is lackadaisical,” Pednekar said. The mayor also asked Chahal to return to the state government if he was “incapable to manage work in the civic body”.
Sena corporators, meanwhile, claimed they tried to contact the officers concerned but did not receive any response. Later, when Sena group leader Vishaka Raut called the municipal commissioner an argument alleged took place between the two. Post the argument, Pednekar along with other Sena corporators sat on a dharna at BMC headquarters alleging “rude behaviour” by Chahal and civic administration.
“Every year, ward officers are present during the ward committee elections, but this time it didn’t happen. Hence, we protested. Later, the commissioner and our group leader Vishaka Raut had an argument. However, the matter is closed now after the commissioner apologised. It was not about any individual but was about insulting the chair that took place due to improper communication,” Pednekar said.
Congress corporator and leader of opposition Ravi Raja said, “When someone like the mayor has to sit on dharna against the administration, it shows that there is no control by the ruling party on the administration. It definitely does not give out a good message.”
Prabhakar Shinde, BJP group leader in the civic body, said an “insult” of the mayor is an insult of the citizens and the BJP completely condemn it. “But what we got to see today is that the Shiv Sena, which is the ruling party in the BMC, has become weak and does not have any control over the administration. According to our information, the municipal secretary department did not inform the officials concerned to be present for the elections. This should be investigated,” Shinde said.
Chahal did not comment on the issue. The election was finally held after 11 am.
There are 17 ward committees comprising the 24 BMC wards. Each committee has a corporator from the wards as a chairperson. Currently, nine committees have BJP presidents, while Sena has eight presidents. Citizens can raise issues, complaints such as drainage, water, roads, garbage, health care and education, in these committees. The committee also has the power to pass proposals for civic projects that cost up to Rs 5 lakh.
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