BJP MP Gopal Shetty returns 17 acres to Mumbai, ball in Shiv Sena court

Member of Parliament (Mumbai North) Gopal Shetty on Monday wrote to Mumbai Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta and offered to return the three plots he has on caretaker/adoption basis, totaling 17 acres. The move comes as the BJP’s next step in painting Shiv Sena as the villain in the open-space controversy.

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MIG Club at Bandra.
MIG Club at Bandra.

There is a fierce battle going on between activists, politicians and the BMC over the city’s open spaces. After the civic body came out with its open space policy last year and had it passed recently, the Shiv Sena and BJP ties have grown bitter. The BJP, which initially supported the policy, has now done a u-turn. Thus, it has left Sena alone to defend the policy. Also, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has ordered the BMC to take back all plots given on adoption basis.

BJP MP Gopal Shetty, who had the Poisar Gymkhana, Veer Savarkar Udyan and Kamla Vihar club under his aegis for the past several years, has offered to return them. Located in Borivali, these three together total 17 acres. On Monday, Shetty wrote to Mehta offering to surrender these plots since it is Shetty’s name which has re-surfaced time and again as one of the biggest land holders. Besides, Shetty’s move could be a snub to the Sena since several Sena bigwigs (for eg, Ravindra Waikar) also hold some plots.

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“I am ready to leave possession of the plots with immediate effect. It will be good if the BMC agrees to repay all the money spent by the public exchequer on the development of these grounds. Even if they don’t, we will hand over the plots,” Shetty told reporters.

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However, Shetty maintained that him and his team had developed the grounds as per rules and that it is “red-tapism” in the BMC that had prevented them from developing further. Apparently, the authorities did not give permission for constructing a club house there.

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