AFTER AN eventful and controversial tenure as the Nagpur municipal commissioner for less than seven months, Tukaram Mundhe, who was suddenly transferred, left the city on Friday morning with hundreds turning up to say goodbye to him. Supporters showered flowers, raised slogans, and some even lay in front of his car when he was about to leave. Mundhe was accompanied by his wife and son. He travelled to Mumbai by car.
Known for his active presence on social media, Mundhe put out a video on Thursday thanking the people of Nagpur for their support and saying his bond with them would remain and strengthen.
Mundhe was transferred to Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikaran in Mumbai as its member-secretary on August 27, two days after he went into home isolation on testing positive for the novel coronavirus. He has been replaced by Radhakrishnan B.
It is unclear how people came to know of his departure time, but they started gathering in front of his official residence in Civil Lines early in the morning. Several people went to meet him after his quarantine ended, where they likely came to know of his schedule. There were messages on some special Facebook pages created in Mundhe’s support, announcing his scheduled departure time in the morning.
The crowd largely comprised youngsters, who chanted slogans such as ‘We support Mundhe sir’. As the crowd started growing in size, people became careless about precautions against Covid-19.
Police arrived soon and asked people to clear the area, but in vain. Around 9.30 pm, Mundhe and his family emerged out of the residence in a car and people rushed in to see him. Police had a tough time clearing the crowd and paving the way for Mundhe’s car to finally leave.
Similar crowds were also witnessed outside an auditorium a couple of months ago when a marathon general body meeting of the Nagpur Municipal Corporation was held to discuss issues focusing on Mundhe and how he was handling the civic administration. People had raised slogans in his support.
Mundhe was locked in a tussle with BJP as well as Congress leaders during his tenure over different issues like development schemes, size of the civic budget, the controversial taking over as the chief of the Nagpur smart city project, and his Covid-19 management. They accused him of appropriating all authority and ignoring the role of corporators in day-to-day affairs of governance.
Mundhe had even lodged a complaint against a Congress corporator for allegedly obstructing mass quarantine from a Covid-19 hotspot in the city.
Even Union minister Nitin Gadkari had complained against him to the Prime Minister’s Office for his alleged illegal taking over as the chief of the smart city project. Mundhe was later asked to quit the post, giving a sense of vindication to the ruling BJP.
Messages to Mundhe about his departure did not yield any response.
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