Taj Mahal Palace Hotel waiver: Congress to move Bombay High Court as tussle among parties intensifies in BMC

The ongoing tussle between the ruling Shiv Sena and opposition Congress intensified on Friday, after Ravi Raja, senior Congress corporator and Leader of Party (LoP) in the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) stated that he will file a petition in the Bombay High Court demanding a stay on the proposed Rs 9.52 crore waiver to the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai.

Hotel Taj Mahal Palace, near the Gateway of India in Colaba, has placed barricades on a portion of the road and footpath outside its premises, citing security reasons after the 26/11 terrorist attacks in 2008. As a result, for procuring the public space of the city, the hotel owed around Rs 10.18 crore to the civic body.

Earlier, on Wednesday, despite the strong objection of opposition leaders, the Shiv Sena-led BMC standing committee gave its nod to the waiver, which eventually led to immense ruckus on the floor of the house.

“The opposition leaders were not given any chance to speak on Wednesday, despite our heavy objection against the proposal,” Raja told the Free Press Journal. “The proposal was passed arbitrarily and we will approach the HC now because the proposal needs to be stayed,” he added.

Meanwhile, Yashwant Jadhav, senior Shiv Sena corporator and standing committee chairman, urged the municipal chief to draft a special policy for the Taj Mahal Palace hotel. Jadhav stated, waiving off the dues is completely justified as Taj is one of the iconic landmarks of the city and protecting it is a responsibility of the civic body as well.

“Congress is using its pressure tactics on us. If they continue to do so, then Shiv Sena will also not hold back,” Jadhav said.

“The court had earlier directed the BMC to formulate a separate policy for Taj. Not following the orders would result in the contempt of the court,” Jadhav added.

Meanwhile, Vinod Mishra, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) corporator and group leader of the party in BMC, told the claims to file petitions won't make difference unless they are actually filed.

“Congress has been a silent witness to Shiv Sena's corruption in the BMC. They are trying to create pressure on Shiv Sena for their own interest,” Mishra said.

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