Mumbai: While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had on February 27 said it had chosen Vinod Mishra as its group leader in the BMC and also sent a letter to Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar declaring Prabhakar Shinde the leader of opposition in the civic body, on Tuesday, however, it sent a fresh letter to the Mayor nominating Shinde as the group leader for BJP in the civic body.

In the fresh letter to Pednekar on Tuesday, BJP Mumbai president Mangal Prabhat Lodha, said that at a recent corporators meeting, Shinde was chosen as the group leader for the BJP in the BMC. A formal announcement of Shinde’s appointment as BJP group leader will be made during the civic general body meeting on March 5.

Lodha, however, has also communicated the BJP’s intention of getting Shinde appointed as leader of opposition in the BMC in the future.

Being the second largest party in the BMC with 83 corporators, BJP had handed over a letter to the Mayor on February 27, in which the party on its own declared Shinde as the leader of opposition. On the same day, the BJP had also verbally said that it had appointed Vinod Mishra its group leader in the BMC.

Stating that the BJP had `lost its mind’ and was `confused’, incumbent leader of opposition, Ravi Raja of the Congress, said that in 2017, when BJP was asked whether it would sit in the opposition, the party refused to do so. “After the BJP’s refusal, I was given the chance after the Mayor took legal opinion. Now, when the alliance of Shiv Sena and BJP has broken, BJP claims to be in opposition,” said Raja, the group leader for the Congress party.

“BJP should refer to the BMC ACT 1888, article 37 (A), wherein it is clearly mentioned that the second largest party should be called the Opposition. Since BJP did not accept the charge of the opposition, then Congress which stood the third largest party was accepted as the second party after taking legal opinion. The mayor also has the authority to make a choice in this regard,” said Raja.

“The Mayor can keep the issue pending by pointing at the BJP's decision in the year 2017. A decision on appointing Shinde leader of opposition can also be delayed by seeking more time to get legal opinion,” said a BMC official.

BJP spokesperson Bhalchandra Sirshat said, “Some misunderstanding took place due to which such a situation arose. We never declared Vinod Mishra’s name in the letter given to mayor. Mishra has been given the responsibility of looking after the work of the party.”

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