How NCP-Congress helped swing axe at Aarey

While all mainstream Maharashtrian parties barring the BJP have been vocal in their opposition, Congress and NCP actually didn’t stop the proposal when it mattered.

At a meeting in August 2019, the NCP corporator Kaptan Malik actually voted in favour of cutting the trees. Two Congress corporators also abstained the crucial vote.

BJP’s four corporators supported the proposal.

Three of the five experts, appointed by the civic body also backed the proposal while six Sena corporators opposed it.

If the Cong-NCP members had opposed it, the proposal would’ve been rejected 9-7. Instead it was passed by 8-6.

In September, when Supriya Sule met Aarey protesters, she had said: “The Aarey forest acts as the lungs of Mumbai and provides the city the pure air we breathe. I strongly oppose the cutting down of trees here. We have to save the green patches in Mumbai for our future generations.”

At that time, NCP's Mumbai president Nawab Malik had reacted cautiously claiming the NCP didn’t oppose the Metro project and said: “I cannot comment on what Supriya tai has said. But our position in the Tree Authority was taken based on the report of the expert committee, which said the trees will be replanted, and more trees will be planted as well.”

The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd started cutting trees late Friday night to make way for its car shed, hours after the Bombay High Court dismissed four petitions filed by NGOs and activists challenging the decision to allow felling of trees in the prime green lung of the city.

"Where were fake environment lovers who championed the ban on plastic when the tree felling started?" Malik asked on the micro-blogging site, tagging Thackeray and BJP.

Another NCP leader, Dhananjay Munde, condemned the "slaughtering" of trees and accused the state government of "muzzling" the voices of people who protested against it.

The Congress, on the other hand, asked the Sena if its alliance with the BJP was more important than saving the trees.

"This is the time @ShivSena. You are in the government, can stop this. The Mahayuti (mega alliance) is more important or the mega loss of trees?" Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant tweeted.

Banners had been placed in Worli, from where Thackeray is contesting the October 21 assembly polls, in which the Shiv Sena leader is seen asking in Gujarati "Kem chho Worli?" (How are you Worli?).

Referring to the banners, Sawant asked Thackeray to at least say, "Kem chho #AareyForest".

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