NCP, Cong rift widens as Naik gets a jolt

NMMC POWER NCP loses stand­ing com­mit­tee chair­man­ship as Congress votes for Sena can­di­date; new en­trant to com­mit­tee not al­lowed to vote

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI MUMBAI - G Mohiuddin Jeddy

NAVI MUM­BAI: The Na­tion­al­ist Congress Party’s (NCP) can­di­date los­ing the NMMC stand­ing com­mit­tee chair­man­ship was a ma­jor set­back for the party leader and for­mer min­is­ter Ganesh Naik.

In a shocker for the NCP, its ally the Congress voted for the Shiv Sena can­di­date, tilt­ing the balance in favour of the op­po­si­tion.

Po­lit­i­cal sources said it was a down­fall for Naik, who was a master at win­ning elec­tions. He had en­sured that the NCP can­di­dates won the civic elec­tions, in­clud­ing the mayor’s post that his el­der son San­jeev Naik held dur­ing the 2000 to 2005 when the NCP did not have a ma­jor­ity.

The 16-mem­ber stand­ing com­mit­tee, which holds the key to the fi­nan­cial de­ci­sions in the civic body has eight NCP mem­bers, six Shiv Sena cor­po­ra­tors and one each from the BJP and Congress.

The NCP had last year won the chair­man­ship se­cur­ing nine votes against the Shiv Sena’s seven. The Congress had then voted for the NCP, with which it has an al­liance in the house.

On Mon­day, how­ever, NCP can­di­date Jay­want Su­tar, leader of the house in NMMC se­cured just 7 votes while Shiv Sena can­di­date Shivram Patil bagged eight. Congress cor­po­ra­tor Mira Patil voted for him.

Mira Patil said, “I have not voted un­der any­one’s pres­sure. The rul­ing party has for years given us men­tal ten­sion. No work was al­lowed to be done in our wards.”

NCP cor­po­ra­tor Prakash More, who was con­tro­ver­sially nom­i­nated to the com­mit­tee just an hour be­fore the stand­ing com­mit­tee elec­tion, was not al­lowed to vote by the pre­sid­ing of­fi­cer, Raigad col­lec­tor Shee­tal Ugale. She de­creed that since the meet­ing agenda had not been given to More three days ear­lier, tech­ni­cally he can­not vote.

“This was planned. Not al­low­ing me to vote does not make sense de­spite my elec­tion to the com­mit­tee. I will move the court,” said More. With the NCP los­ing a vote of its mem­ber, it was heav­ily de­pen­dent on the lone Congress vote which would have helped it sail through.

Jay­want Su­tar said, “This is back­stab­bing and dirty pol­i­tics at its worst. The plan was hatched by for­mer Congress cor­po­ra­tor San­tosh Shetty and Ra­makant Mha­tre. They have be­trayed their party as well.”

BACHCHAN KUMAR

Shiv Sena’s Shivram Patil (se­cond from left) af­ter his win.

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