Ex-MLA Narendra Mehta and BJP city chief Hemant Mhatre
Ex-MLA Narendra Mehta and BJP city chief Hemant Mhatre
FPJ Correspondent

Already in troubled waters owing to infighting, an audio clip which went viral on various social media platforms on Monday has yet again exposed the escalating rift within the Mira Bhayandar unit of the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP).

In the audio clip, a staunch Narendra Mehta loyalist in his telephonic conversation is heard asking an office-bearer of BJP’s North Indian cell to make his choice if he wanted his name to be retained or deleted in the committee as there were two factions in existence and they did not consider city BJP chief Hemant Mhatre as their president.

When contacted Hemant Mhatre said, “BJP is one big family with no such serious rifts. Such issues (differences) are common in a family and will be sorted out within it." Regarding the audio clip Mhatre said, the caller is a paid employee having no authority to appoint or remove any office bearer.

After a brief tug-of-war between former legislator Narendra Mehta (BJP) and independent MLA Geeta Jain (a BJP corporator who later joined the Shiv Sena), the ruling BJP is staring at yet another power war in the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC). This time Geeta Jain has been replaced by city BJP chief Hemant Mhatre in the perception battle of who controls the party and the civic body.

While deputy mayor Hasmukh Gehlot (BJP) said that the party stands tall and united, his party colleague Adv. Ravi Vyas remained unavailable for comments.

Despite tasting defeat at the hands of rebel candidate Geeta Jain in the assembly polls last year, Mehta has continued to maintain his dominance over the MBMC and the party unit.

Although he surprised everyone including his party cadre by taking political "sanyas" (retirement) in February this year, however, his interference in civic affairs continued unabated. The recent appointments of his loyalists as the chairpersons of crucial panels including the Transport Authority has once again revealed Mehta’s clout in the affairs of the civic body.

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