Mumbai: It’s the conflict of morchas in Mumbai. Forward of elections to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Company, each Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) and Maharashtra’s ruling alliance of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Celebration (BJP) will hit the streets Saturday night in an try and seize considered one of Maharashtra’s most vital civic our bodies.
The protest marches will see both sides goal the opposite for alleged graft within the BMC — a physique that each have dominated prior to now.
For 20 years from 1997, the BJP and the then undivided Shiv Sena had collectively helmed the BMC. In 2017, nonetheless, that alliance broke, with each events preventing that yr’s elections individually. Finally, the Shiv Sena, then headed by Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray, triumphed, ruling the civic physique till 2022.
In March 2022, when its time period ended and elections have been delayed as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, the physique was introduced beneath an administrator nominated by the state authorities, then dominated by the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA). That administrator, Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal, continued even after the MVA authorities fell in June 2022, to get replaced by a authorities led by Shinde.
On its half, the Shiv Sena (UBT) will spotlight “corruption” on numerous tasks undertaken by BMC — the occasion has been claiming irregularities within the civic physique’s street tender processes, ongoing Mumbai beautification mission, and its choice to purchase Rs 263-crore value of road furnishings for the town, amongst different issues.
The BJP and Shinde-led Shiv Sena, in the meantime, plans to focus on the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) ongoing probe into the alleged corruption within the numerous contracts awarded throughout the COVID-19 pandemic — the alliance has dubbed its protest Chor machaye shor (which roughly interprets into thief is making a racket), mocking the opposite protest.
Each morchas will happen spherical the identical time at 4 pm Saturday, sources in each events advised ThePrint
The timing of the protests are important, on condition that it comes precisely a yr after the autumn of the Uddhav authorities. It additionally comes over every week after the Enforcement Directorate carried out raids at a number of properties — a few of them belonging to shut aides of Uddhav — in reference to its investigation.
In line with leaders from the ruling dispensation within the state, the BMC elections are more likely to be held later this yr or early subsequent, though a proper schedule has not been introduced but.
The protest marches are essential to each Shiv Sena (UBT) and the BJP. For the previous, it’s an effort to carry on to Mumbai regardless of Shinde’s to make inroads right into a metropolis the place the Thackerays have historically been robust and the place a majority of the MLAs are nonetheless with their faction.
To the BJP, in the meantime, this presents a chance: with a vertical cut up within the Shiv Sena, the BJP is seemingly hoping to realize some floor by tapping into voters who’re disillusioned with Uddhav.
“Within the run as much as the BMC elections, this can be a posturing from either side,” political commentator Sanjay Jog advised ThePrint. “It’s ironic as a result of BJP and Shiv Sena shared energy for the longest time and no person, together with Shinde, considered misappropriation of funds. However none of them are bothered about Mumbaikars and it’s a tragic state of affairs.”
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March vs March
It’s Thackeray scion Aaditya who will lead the march for the Shiv Sena (UBT) together with senior occasion leaders, the occasion introduced on 20 June. For this, it has been holding conferences to plan a plan, with Uddhav having held conferences with Mumbai Shiv Sena shakha pramukhs, or unit heads, and ex-corporators to mobilise his cadre.
The Sena UBT had additionally launched a video teaser earlier this month within the run-up to this march highlighting the varied “corruption scams” it accuses the BMC in addition to Shinde authorities of. In his tweet Friday, Aaditya mentioned: “We’ll ask inquiries to the ‘khoke sarkar’ relating to the theft of Mumbaikars’ cash. These making an attempt to destroy Mumbai should reply”.
‘Khoke sarkar’ is a reference to the allegations by Uddhav loyalists that they have been supplied Rs 50 crore by the rebels to modify over to the Shinde faction. The latter has denied having made any such presents.
On its half, the BJP-Sena alliance has launched posters highlighting the alleged monetary misappropriations within the BMC throughout COVID, when Uddhav was nonetheless CM.
“We’re taking out this morcha on behalf of Mumbaikars,” Ashish Shelar, president of Mumbai BJP, mentioned whereas chatting with reporters Friday. “We’ll straight ask Uddhavji and his son what they did with BMC’s cash within the final 25 years? However may also ask them in regards to the Rs 12,000 crore rip-off throughout COVID.”’
(Edited by Uttara Ramaswamy)
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