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