Andar Ki Baat: Fighting For Survival First, BMC Polls Later

Andar Ki Baat: Fighting For Survival First, BMC Polls Later

Even though Varsha Gaikwad’s appointment as the first woman president of the Mumbai Congress was announced with much fanfare, several sections of the organisation are still to reconcile to her elevation.

FPJ News ServiceUpdated: Wednesday, June 21, 2023, 12:14 PM IST
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Mumbai Congress Chief Varsha Gaikwad |

Fate hangs by a thread

CM Eknath Shinde’s decision to appoint a Special Investigation Team (SIT) indicates that senior IAS officer IS Chahal’s days as the Mumbai municipal commissioner are numbered. Chahal had earlier torpedoed the Anti-Corruption Bureau’s request for permission to investigate two assistant municipal commissioners – Mahesh Patil and Manish Walunj. He had also taken strong objection to CAG audit of BMC’s spending during the pandemic. With the SIT, criminal action will be taken against the officials involved in the Rs12,000 crore plunder. Fearing arrest, an assistant commissioner close to the Shiv Sena (UBT) is reported to have destroyed eight of his mobiles. But the guy does not know that his WhatsApp chats can still be accessed.

Fighting for survival first, BMC polls later

Even though Varsha Gaikwad’s appointment as the first woman president of the Mumbai Congress was announced with much fanfare, several sections of the organisation are still to reconcile to her elevation. When she took charge of her post at the MRCC office in Azad Maidan, the Gurudas Kamat faction and prominent ex-corporator Ravi Raja and others boycotted it, sending a clear message to the central leadership. Many feel that she lacks the political stature needed to hold the post. She does hold the Dalit card, but that alone may not be sufficient to win the upcoming civic elections. Moreover, she is hardly known in India Inc circles, which is necessary for a politician helming the Congress to succeed in India’s financial capital. Indications are that she may not be retained till the BMC elections. A more acceptable candidate may be roped in to lead the party campaign.

Taking a step back, for now

Like the farm bills, the Central government is likely to withdraw the controversial Livestock Export Bill, 2023. There is huge opposition to the draft bill from within the BJP itself with many expressing surprise as to how it was contemplated by the government in the first place. What is particularly upsetting to animal rights activists is that the bill permits the export of even live dogs and cats. With the elections to the Lok Sabha due next year, the Centre most probably will not risk courting a huge controversy since the issue of export of livestock is a highly sensitive one. The animal and meat export lobby is powerful, but given the political damage involved the government may not want to push through the legislation.

Tailpiece: The crime branch’s interrogatio

The crime branch’s interrogation of Asgar Ali Shirazi has thrown up the name of a Bandra politician, who is known to be close to Bollywood. This neta was earlier known for his proximity to Iqbal Mirchi. Will he be picked up?

Compiled by S Balakrishnan

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