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BMC waits with bated breath for its mayor as March 8 approaches fast

BMC waits with bated breath for its mayor as March 8 approaches fast
"Beware the Ides of March" is probably the watchword for the political parties – who wait for March 8 when the Mayor's name will be declared - as they scramble for making up their minds in choosing the parties they want to go with in taking leadership or remaining in the opposition of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.

Dubbed as a 'mini-Assembly" election, over 1.94 crore voters in Maharashtra were entitled to exercise their franchise for representatives of 10 city corporations on February 21 and of which about 92 lakh voters were choosing the fates of 2,275 candidates in the BMC elections.

While the city waited with bated breath for the Mayor to be chosen, the political parties meanwhile chose to indulge in 'horsetrading' with their 'political pawns' being shuffled around on the chessboard. However, March 4 witnessed the BJP backing down from the tussle for Mayor's post with the Shiv Sena laying claim to both – mayor and deputy mayor – posts. But March 8 still remained the deciding day as political equations keep changing quickly, according to political sources.

The Congress and NCP in Mumbai, which were hopeful of gaining some advantage from the leverage of their 'assured' support to the Shiv Sena and BJP in their tussle for the mayor's post, are continuing to maintain a wait-and-watch attitude.

The BMC 2017 elections had witnessed a colourful campaigning by all political parties. "Surgical strikes, cockfights, political earthquakes occurring, ripping out the intestines of the corrupt, fake exit polls and trolls on social media" were some of the highlights of the campaign which also displayed the +rising fortunes+ of the various candidates in the electoral fray.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who completed 25 years in politics on February 22, 2017, claimed that his assets on record were still the same as 25 years ago.

While each municipal corporator gets barely Rs 10,000 monthly payment, the fortunes of many municipal corporators have shown an upswing since the last elections. Former Shiv Sena Mayor and present winner in Ward no 202 candidate Shraddha Jadhav's property worth Rs one crore in 2012 – rose to Rs 15.93 crore in 2017. Ward no 103's Manoj Kotak (BJP)'s wealth of Rs 2.64 crore in 2012 rose to Rs 4.97 crore in 2017. Congress leader Pravin Chheda's property worth Rs 8.60 crore in 2012 is valued at Rs 14.4 crore in 2017, while BJP's Parag Shah winner in ward no 132 (Ghatkopar) – the richest candidate and a real estate developer – is worth Rs 690 crores on Monday.

The Shiv Sena had stated that their support to Maharashtra BJP Government was temporary. However, the BJP does not seem to be taking any chances on "having the rug pulled out under their feet" by the Shiv Sena in the Maharashtra Government headed by their Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. MNS chief Raj Thackeray claimed that Shiv Sena and BJP are in a +cockfight+ despite their 25-year-alliance.

Akbaruddin Owaisi, President of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), during his BMC election campaigning in Nagpada area of Mumbai, had urged both Congress and NCP to unite to solve issues affecting the 25-crore Indian Muslim population.
Dominick Rodrigues

Dominick Rodrigues

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