Not al­lowed to speak, Oppn mem­bers walk out in protest

Op­po­si­tion plans hunger strike at Azad Maidan dur­ing bud­get ses­sion

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI MUM­BAI - G Mo­hi­ud­din Jeddy ht­for­nav­i­mum­bai@hin­dus­tan­times.com

CBD BE­LA­PUR: The op­po­si­tion party mem­bers staged a walk­out in the gen­eral body meet­ing of Navi Mum­bai Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion on Thurs­day.

The mem­bers were up­set be­cause they were not al­lowed to speak on a res­o­lu­tion. The op­po­si­tion has claimed that this has be­come a reg­u­lar fea­ture due to the pres­sure from the lo­cal bosses of the rul­ing party. The NCP has de­nied the al­le­ga­tion.

The op­po­si­tion has planned a sit-in protest at the mu­nic­i­pal com­mis­sioner’s of­fice on Fri­day, boy­cott of the bud­get ses­sion and also a hunger strike dur­ing the as­sem­bly ses­sion to com­plain to the state gov­ern­ment.

The fra­cas took place when a res­o­lu­tion for mar­ble cladding of the dome of the much de­layed Dr Babasa­heb Ambed­kar Me­mo­rial at Sec­tor 15 of Airoli came up.

As the Rs19.33 crore res­o­lu­tion was in­tro­duced, op­po­si­tion leader Vi­jay Chougule said he wanted to speak. Mayor Sud­hakar Son­awane, how­ever, put the res­o­lu­tion to vote with­out any dis­cus­sion.

This up­set Chougule and the op­po­si­tion protested, say­ing that their voice is be­ing muz­zled. The rul­ing party mem­bers blamed the op­po­si­tion for cre­at­ing un­nec­es­sary is­sues and the mayor stated that he gave ev­ery­one a chance to speak.

Heated ex­changes en­sued and when the mayor re­mained adamant at not al­low­ing dis­cus­sion on the res­o­lu­tion as it had been passed, Chougule de­clared at all 46 mem­bers of the op­po­si­tion would walk out in protest.

Chougule said, “I had made the land al­lo­ca­tion when I was the stand­ing com­mit­tee chair­man. We wanted to speak on the memo­rial. Money is not an is­sue.”

He said that the prop­erty be­longs to the pub­lic and that they have a right to speak.

“The vested in­ter­ests do not want even the op­po­si­tion leader to speak. What is the use of sit­ting in the house if we are not al­lowed to have a say in the pro­ceed­ings? Let them con­duct the busi­ness alone,” said Chougule.

He said they have de­cided to boy­cott the spe­cial bud­get ses­sion of the NMMC on Fri­day and sit in front of mu­nic­i­pal com­mis­sioner’s of­fice as a protest. “Next, we will stage a hunger strike at Azad Maidan dur­ing the state as­sem­bly bud­get ses­sion. We will give our com­plaint to the state gov­ern­ment,” he said.

Ram­chan­dra Gharat, BJP group leader, said: “For the past nine months since the present house was formed, the rul­ing party has en­sured that the op­po­si­tion mem­bers are not al­lowed to speak on cru­cial is­sues.”

Shiv Sena cor­po­ra­tor M. K. Mad­hvi, “The mayor may want to con­duct the house as per the norms, but the rul­ing party po­lit­i­cal bosses in the city are pres­suris­ing him not to al­low the op­po­si­tion to speak.”

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