Updated: August 22, 2021 9:49:33 am
Opposition members have demanded dissolution of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), appointment of an administrator, and a thorough investigation into alleged corruption within the civic body, following Friday’s development when the civic general body meeting, held online inside a closed cabin, was wrapped up within 10 minutes. The Opposition parties have urged the state government to declare the meeting as illegal.
However, Mayor Usha Dhore of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday justified her decision to quickly end the general body meeting. “There were no issues for discussions, nobody raised their hands…Once the items on the agenda were approved, I adjourned the meeting,” the mayor said. Even as the mayor adjourned the meeting, members of the Opposition, including the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Shiv Sena, held vociferous protests outside her cabin before barging inside.
The mayor denied that she had violated any norms under the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act. “The meeting was held, subjects on the agenda were approved, there was nothing illegal in it and I don’t work under anyone’s pressure,” she said, adding there was no question of her resignation as she had done nothing wrong.
Meanwhile, protesting Shiv Sena and NCP corporators maintained that the PCMC should be dissolved, an administrator appointed and the mayor should resign.
NCP House leader Raju Misal said, “The BJP is trying to muzzle the voices of the Opposition. This is the first time in the history of PCMC that a civic general body was held behind closed doors. We will request the state government to declare this meeting as illegal.”
Among those at the forefront of the protests were Sachin Bhosale, Yogesh Behl, Nana Kate, Mangala Kadam, Ajit Gavhane, Mayur Kalate, Vaishali Ghodekar, Bhausaheb Bhoir, Vaishali Kalbhor, Sameer Masulkar, Vinod Nade and Rahul Bhosale of the Shiv Sena and the NCP.
Meanwhile, a delegation of Shiv Sena’s Pimpri-Chinchwad unit, which met Municipal Commissioner Rajesh Patil on Friday, has demanded a thorough investigation into the alleged corruption cases within the civic body. They also held an agitation at the PCMC headquarters.
Sena Parliamentarian Shrirang Barne said, “Now that the BJP standing committee chairman himself has been arrested for graft, the civic administration should initiate a thorough probe and take action against the guilty.”
The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) had on Wednesday arrested Nitin Landge, his personal secretary and three civic employees for allegedly accepting Rs 1.18 lakh in bribe from a contractor.
Barne said, “Since the BJP came to power in PCMC four-and-a-half years back, corruption has reached its peak. Several graft cases have surfaced during the BJP rule. Be it Smart City projects, Amrut Yojana, PMAY (Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana) or tender process, all have seen corruption to the tune of crores of rupees. PCMC officers, corporators and BJP office-bearers themselves are claiming civic contracts and looting the civic body. For the first time in the history of the civic body, a standing committee chairman has been caught for taking bribe. This is the biggest proof of the corruption that is taking place in PCMC,” he said.
Sena’s Pimpri-Chinchwad chief Bhosale said, “The BJP promised transparency and good governance before coming to power. But after coming to power, it has done nothing but spawn corruption. BJP leaders misused power and looted the civic treasury. We will urge Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Urban Development Minister Eknath Shinde to launch a probe into the corruption cases of PCMC during BJP rule.”
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