Not allowed to speak, Oppn members walk out in protest
Opposition plans hunger strike at Azad Maidan during budget session
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.”