NCP on back foot, oppn eyes mayor post

At least five NCP cor­po­ra­tors on the verge of de­fect­ing; Sena opens its doors to all

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

CBD BE­LA­PUR: The Op­po­si­tion has never had it so good in the his­tory of Navi Mum­bai Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion since it came into be­ing in 1995.

The Ganesh Naik-led Na­tion­al­ist Con­gress Party ( NCP) seems to have lost the plot and is on the back foot, des­per­ately try­ing to keep its flock to­gether and more im­por­tantly its pre­car­i­ous hold in the house of the civic body.

The op­po­si­tion has set its eyes on the post of the mayor, the tar­get it had set af­ter the may­oral elec­tions last year and which it be­lieves is pos­si­ble in the present po­lit­i­cal sce­nario.

The vic­tory in the stand­ing com­mit­tee chair­man elec­tion a fort­night ago has re­newed the con­fi­dence of the op­po­si­tion. The Shiv Sena has set its eyes on the may­oral elec­tions that will be held next year.

Po­lit­i­cal sources claim that it could make an at­tempt to bag the post even ear­lier by re­duc­ing the NCP num­bers in the house be­fore mayor Sud­hakar Son­awane’s ten­ure ends.

The Shiv Sena has vir­tu­ally opened its doors to all cor­po­ra­tors, who want to join the party.

Ac­cord­ing to a po­lit­i­cal source, “While sev­eral NCP cor­po­ra­tors are up­set with Naik’s style of func­tion­ing, there are at least five NCP cor­po­ra­tors from Vashi and Turbhe who are on the verge of de­fect­ing. They have a strong base of their own in their wards. They could re­sign and con­test the by­elec­tion as Shiv Sena or BJP can­di­dates, pos­si­bly boost­ing the num­bers of the op­po­si­tion and de­plet­ing the NCP in the house.”

The source said, “While a Vashi cor­po­ra­tor is up­set at work not hap­pen­ing in his ward, a cor­po­ra­tor in Turbhe is up­set with Naik for his al­leged in­ter­fer­ence in MIDC com­pa­nies of his area. He has been in touch with the op­po­si­tion lead­ers. He has even pub­licly spo­ken against NCP pol­icy de­ci­sions on the dump­ing ground in Turbhe.”

He added, “Three NCP cor­po­ra­tors in Digha have al­ready been is­sued show-cause notice for their dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion over con­struc­tion of il­le­gal build­ings. One of them even re­signed from the stand­ing com­mit­tee mem­ber­ship which led to the fi­asco for the NCP.”

The source said, “The three cor­po­ra­tors are re­ported to be up­set with Naik and had even openly hob­nobbed with state Shiv Sena and BJP lead­ers, a cou­ple of months ago to help reg­u­larise the il­le­gal con­struc­tions in Digha. By-elec­tion in their area will ob­vi­ously have can­di­dates put up by them which could be from the op­po­si­tion, thus hit­ting NCP hard.”

The source said, “Some NCP cor­po­ra­tors are still bat- tling with their caste cer­tifi­cate is­sues and could lose mem­ber­ship lead­ing to by-elec­tions in their wards.”

A po­lit­i­cal ob­server said: “While the NCP is not sure of its own cor­po­ra­tors, it is ob­vi­ous that it can­not trust the Con­gress, which has a his­tory of flip flops. Not only did the party cor­po­ra­tor vote against the NCP can­di­date in the stand­ing com­mit­tee elec­tions, the Con­gress even put a uni­fied can­di­date for the by­elec­tions in Ya­dav Na­gar against the NCP can­di­date.”

He said, “The Con­gress lead­ers here are a di­vided lot and known to have acted against the sup­posed or­ders of their high com­mand. This gives an invit­ing win­dow to the Shiv Sena.”

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