Policy on hold as BJP won’t back Shiv Sena
MUMBAI: The new, controversial open spaces policy that citizens feared would reduce their access to Mumbai’s open spaces was not tabled in Wednesday’s general body meeting as scheduled.
The Shiv Sena, the ruling party in the Brinhanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), took a step back, after its ally, the BJP, said a day earlier the policy should not be approved in its current form, while calling for a debate.
Until Tuesday, the BJP was in favour of the new policy, and had even helped the Sena get it approved in the civic improvements committee meeting last week. Opposition parties had voted against the policy.
But on Tuesday, Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar backed the demands of citizen groups and activists and asked for the policy to be sent back to the improvements committee.
The Hindustan Times, along with citizen groups, has been continuously campaigning against malpractices in the name of protecting open spaces in the city.
The Sena, with its 75 members in the 227-strong house, realised that without BJP’s support, and with opposition parties demanding scrapping the policy, it was unlikely to get approved on Wednesday. The policy is likely to be tabled next month.
Citizens have been up in arms as the new policy, while doing away with the caretaker clause — earlier misused by private organisations to restrict public entry — said plots given on caretaker basis since 1991 will remain with them.