Free Press Journal

Mumbai civic polls: Will Shiv Sena and BPJ’s personal battle hamper the city’s development plans?


Both BJP and Shiv Sena ran a pre poll election campaign with their main agenda being development and with both the parties failing to get a clear majority and as these parties are involved in the war for power the agenda of development is slowly but surely been taken over by all the chaos that is created around the parties forming majority and who will be the Mayor.

The Development Plan (2014-34) (DP) needs to be approved, it is the need of the hour and that needs to be done before March 20, so that the state can approve the revised DP as it is the DP has been already delayed. DP is the blue print plan of how the city should be developed but that is clearly not the concern of the two largest parties in the house. Both Sena and BJP are primarily focusing on March 8, the day, when it will be decided which of them gets the Mayor’s seat and maybe once they are done with that they will give a look at the DP and then present it to the newly constituted house. The fight of power by both the parties is only going to mean that development plan is going to be delayed further more.

The fight between Shiv Sena and BJP has lasted for quite some time. Previously every big project of the civic body was either scrapped or put on hold. The previous DP was scrapped, pay and park policy was scrapped until state government intervened and then the plan to install LED lights all over the city did not have the backing of Sena, so it was put on hold. Even the no hawking zone policy had to be stalled because of the backlash from the people. The open spaces policy is also put on hold. City’s night life project is also pending. Some of the policies are not seeing the light of the day because of the opposition from either of the parties or the citizen groups and the residents associations have protested against these proposals and policies.

Sena and BJP do not agree with each other on quite a few projects and one cannot see anything positive coming out anytime soon. Even the controversial Metro III project both parties do not agree upon, while the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is backing the MMRC to build the car depot in Aarey Colony, the project is strongly opposed by Sena. The project is opposed by the NGO’s and the resident associations too, sparking a controversy. Sena will surely oppose this plan once the DP is brought up for discussion in BMC.

The two parties also do not agree upon Narendra Modi’s project, which is to provide affordable housing for 10 lakh citizens on saltpan land. Shiv Sena have citied the reasons of enviornmental damage and the danger of land caving in to oppose the plan. The Sena could be right in opposing the developmental plans both at Aarey and saltpan land citing environmental damage, but shouldn’t both the parties figure out other alternatives rather than oppose?

Shiv Sena wants to build a tourist zone on the eastern sea front. The land is currently held by the Union government’s Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT), which the Sena wants to be handed over to the BMC, but the central government has already consulted designers in a attempt to make the land available to public and build residential and commercial projects on the same land, clearly BJP has different ideas about the use of the land.

Shiv Sena has most seats, they can have the Mayor’s seat as well but both these factors clearly do not provide enough power to Sena to clear any projects on their own. However, if development is the agenda of both the parties, what is the fuss all about?