Resort drama, poaching game, missing corporators, resignations and a video war-the lead up to the mayoral elections of Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) was nothing short of a political thriller, which concluded on Wednesday.
However, very little materialized as BJP retained the mayoral chairs with ease. It turned out to be a cake-walk for senior corporator Jyotsna Hasnale (BJP) who was elected as the 8th mayor of the civic body in a straight contest with her Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) rival Anant Shirke (Shiv Sena).
Hasnale, received 55 votes to defeat Shirke who bagged 36 votes. While five BJP corporators including Geeta Jain (who is also an independent legislator) cross voted in favour of the Sena candidate and Vijay Rai mysteriously remained absent for the mayoral polls.
BJP’s Hasmukh Gehlot, a staunch loyalist of former legislator Narendra Mehta, defeated Merlin D’sa (Congress) to get elected as deputy mayor. Three MVA corporators Anita Patil, Dipti Bhatt (both Sena) and Sarah Akram (Congress) skipped the election process.
Sena leaders alleged their members were kidnapped by the BJP. Despite having a comfortable majority of 61 in the 95-member house, the BJP was opposed by its estranged ally which teamed up with the Congress, setting in motion to dethrone Mehta, coupled by a threat of split over brewing dissent within the BJP, adding an element of unpredictability to the contest.
However, with BJP managing to hold on to its expected numbers, the operation appears to have flopped, at least for now. Elections were held under the aegis of Mumbai suburb collector Milind Borikar.
Since the elevation of MBMC from council to corporation, it has been witness to 8 mayoral terms so far. There have been only two male mayors as women have registered their dominance for the past 18 years.
BJP’s Hasnale is the sixth female mayor. Nirmala Savle succeeded Mayra Mendonca (both NCP) who became the first mayor in 2002. Catlyn Pereira (NCP) and BJP’s Geeta Jain shared the chair from 2012 to 2017. BJP’s Dimple Mehta became the seventh mayor for the first half of MBMC’s tenure in 2017.