Though the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls are a year away, the BJP has already swung into action and is training guns against its former ally, Shiv Sena. The latest spat between the two parties came over the distribution of development funds in the civic body.
BJP MLA Ashish Shelar and the Standing Committee chairman and Sena corporator Yashwant Jadhav, engaged in a war of words on Saturday. Shelar, in a tweet, alleged there has been an unfair distribution of development funds and Jadhav bagged a lion’s share of the funds. He further mocked, “Is BMC, Jadhav’s private limited company?”
The BJP alleged it had been short-changed by the ruling Sena in the civic budget. Shelar alleged thst while Shiv Sena bagged Rs 230 crore in development funds, the BJP was allocated only Rs 60 crore. The Congress has been given Rs 81 crore and Jadhav has alone received Rs 30 crore.
In a video response to Shelar’s tweet, Jadhav questioned his intention, “First study how development funds are distributed in the civic body. You are an advocate, former corporator and now an MLA and are well aware that funds are given to each party only after a joint consultation with the group leaders.”
Jadhav said decision on the development funds will be in the public domain in the next two to three days, and the BJPs allegation is false, “BJP has been provided Rs 153 crore; however, you (Shelar) claim only Rs 60 crore has been given. If you can prove that I have been given Rs 30 crore, I will resign,” said Jadhav.
At present, in the 227-member civic body, the Sena has 97 corporators and holds key positions like Standing Committee chairman and the Mayor, while the BJP is the second largest party and has 83 corporators. The Congress has 29 and is the opposition party in the civic body, the NCP has eight and the Samajwadi Party has six corporators.
Reducing the corporators’ fund to Rs 650 crore, the Standing Committee on Thursday approved Rs 39,038 crore as the budget estimate of the BMC for the year 2021-22.
With the BMC polls due early next year, corporators from all parties were demanding a Rs 900-crore fund. However, following allegations of favouritism from BJP corporators on fund allocations, the civic administration decided to offer Rs 650 crore. These funds are generally utilised for various repair and reconstruction works in corporators’ wards.
BJP has been attacking the Sena on various issues, including property waiver, licence fee concession to the hotel owners for providing services during the pandemic.
On Thursday, the Sena and BJP were at loggerheads over the proposal of waiving property tax for houses measuring 500 to 700 sq. ft in Mumbai. In the BMCs improvement committee meeting, the BJP demanded to clear a proposal of property tax waiver for houses up to 700 sq. ft. Committee chairperson and Sena corporator Sadanand Parab, however, refused to clear the proposal and said it will be discussed later. Following this, BJP corporators staged a walk-out from the meeting.
On Friday, BJP slammed the Maha-Vikas Aghadi government for providing a 50 per cent concession on premium charges to the builders, but no waiver on property tax for residents. The concession proposal was approved by the Sena-headed Standing Committee on Friday.