Shiv Sena, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress have fielded candidates separately for the upcoming election for the post of chairperson in four separate statutory working committees of the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
On April 5 and April 6, the civic body will conduct elections to the chairpersons for the standing committee, education committee, improvements committee and management committee of the BrihanMumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking. One corporator member from each committee has been nominated for the post of chairperson from each party and each member will vote for their prefered candidate to elect him as the chairperson.
At present, Shiv Sena, being the ruling party in the civic body, has its majority in all the four committees. All the incumbent chairpersons are from Shiv Sena, who have filed their nomination to retain the post. However, opposition parties have also expressed their interest in backing their candidate with the support from candidates of other parties.
Bhalchandra Shirsat, senior corporator and spokesperson of BJP in the civic body said that his party is open if leaders of any other party decide to support them. "BJP has the second majority in the house after Shiv Sena. If any single party assures us their support, then we will be able to outvote the Shiv Sena candidate easily. We are open towards all options," Shirsat told the Free Press Journal.
Shiv Sena's Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) ally Congress has also fielded candidates separately in the BMC. Ravi Raja, senior Congress corporator and leader of opposition (LoP) in the BMC, said that, being the opposition party, Congress has the right to file its nomination separately. Raja himself has filed his nomination for the post of BEST chairperson. "The alliance is not valid in the civic body. So, we will contest independently. At the same time, we are not going to approach anyone for support directly. We are the opposition and we would like to maintain it that way," Raja said.
Last year, during the BMC ward committee elections, Congress had filed nominations separately for the post of chairpersons. However, each candidate had withdrawn their candidature at the last moment just before the voting began. "Congress has fielded its candidates to stop the BJP so that they don't have to support them indirectly," said a senior corporator requesting anonymity.
Meanwhile, leaders of the Shiv Sena expressed their confidence in winning the elections.
"We have a majority and all our chairpersons will retain their posts," said Yashwant Jadhav, senior Shiv Sena corporator and incumbent chairperson of the BMC standing committee, who has filed his nomination to retain his post.