Election for BMC committee heads: Congress, BJP hint at cross-voting

Mumbai: Elections are set to be held for the post of chairpersons in four crucial committees of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) this week.

Elections for BMC standing committee and BMC education committee will be held on Monday and elections for the improvements committee and for the post of chairperson in the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) committee will be held on Tuesday.

There are 16 corporators in the BEST committee and each of the BMC committees have 26 corporators as members. Each corporator will vote to elect their chairperson and parties have the liberty of withdrawing their candidate 15 minutes ahead of the voting.

Presently the sitting chairpersons in all the four committees hail from the Shiv Sena, which has been ruling the civic body for more than two decades. Even though Sena has allied with Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to form the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in the state, it's likely that Congress will be contesting the elections independently to maintain its status quo as the opposition party.

Both Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded their candidates against the Sena and spokesperson from both the parties hinted that there are chances of cross-voting among party lines. "Sena has 11 seats in BMC while rest of the opposition has 15 seats altogether, anything can happen during the time of voting," Prabhakar Shinde, senior BJP corporator and leader of the party in BMC told FPJ.

Senior Congress corporator and leader of opposition in the BMC, Ravi Raja. mentioned his corporators are getting calls from other parties for cross-voting. Raja himself will be contesting for the post of chairman in the BEST committee. "We have fielded candidates independently because there is a chance of us winning, our corporators are getting calls for cross-voting. Now let's wait and watch till the voting process gets over," Raja told FPJ.

Meanwhile, sources in the Sena informed both Sena and Congress have been negotiating among themselves to support their candidates in at least two of the four posts.

"The Congress is the main opposition in the BMC, if it allies with Sena directly then it will lose its status quo as the opposition party. At the same time, Congress doesn't have enough numbers to elect its chairperson independently," stated a Sena corporator.

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