Undeterred by recent arrest of Union Minister Narayan Rane and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s criticism over Janashirwad Yatra, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has geared up its preparations under the Mission 2022 for the ensuing BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) slated next year.
Apart from focusing on strengthening the party organisation up to booth level under the Samarth Booth Abhiyan, the party has decided to corner estranged ally Shiv Sena on citizens centric issues apart from corruption in the party controlled civic body. As a part of party’s poll strategy, BJP on Thursday organised morchas in 23 wards across the city seeking the BMC’s report card.
BJP MLA Ameet Satam said he led a morcha to K-West ward office to protest against what he alleged was years of corruption and misrule in the civic body. He specifically highlighted corruption in the buildings and factories department of the ward. Satam also claimed that a lock was put on the ward office as part of the protest. “Highlighted the latest high-handed action by the buildings department of the ward office in the residential Asha colony and slum of Janta colony. Was later arrested by DN Nagar police,” he claimed. The police, however, said Satam was only detained and later allowed to leave.
BJP legislator and former minister Ashish Shelar, who led the campaign in H West ward, told Free Press Journal, “The party demanded waiver on property tax for homes up to 500 sq ft area as promised by Shiv Sena. BMC should give 50 per cent cut in water tax, fire control cess and internal road tax and provide financial assistance to those affected by heavy rains and Tauktae cyclone.”
He claimed that it seems for Shiv Sena controlled civic body there are only two parts in the city comprising Kala Nagar and Worli as the projects are implemented there while neglecting Mumbaikars residing in rest of the city.
“The BMC has a budget of Rs 30,000 to Rs 34,000 crore. Mumbai has a population of about 1.20 crore and rich people do not come to the civic body to ask for anything. As a result, Rs 1.50 lakh crore is being spent over 70 lakh people. Where did the money go? There are no roads, no water and no other facilities. The rulers should provide expenditure details,” said Shelar.
On the other hand, BJP legislator Atul Bhatkhalkar, who is in charge of the party’s BMC elections, claimed that Shiv Sena failed to fulfil promises given during the 2017 polls.
“Shiv Sena ruled civic body has failed to make the city pothole free, clean and green Mumbai and supply potable water for 24 hours. Despite letter sent to him, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has not given appointment to discuss a slew of issues faced by Mumbaikars. Besides, the people hit by torrential rains and cyclone have not received any financial aid as the panchnamas (assessment) was not carried out by ten civic body for the damages,” he said.
The BJP insiders said the party will step up voters’ reach out exercise to checkmate Shiv Sena in the run up to the next elections.