BMC Election 2017: How a frustrated civic engineer turned corporator
Rajendra Narwankar campaigning ahead of the BMC polls
In the closely fought battle of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections, which saw many seasoned and senior corporators lose, including Standing Committee chairman Yashodhar Phanse, leader of the House Trushna Vishwasrao and five-term corporator Waqarunissa Ansari, has emerged a surprise winner — a retired BMC engineer who joined politics two years ago.
Rajendra Narwankar (61), who contested on a Congress ticket and won from ward 216 (Mumbai Central, Wadia Street), could be the first officer from civic body's engineering department, considered to be the backbone for the corporation as well as the city.
Rajendra Narwankar after his victory
Narwankar was assistant engineer (solid waste management department) in D ward (Grant Road, Nana Chowk). He retired a couple of years ago after over 35 years of service. Living with his parents in Tardeo and later shifting to Napean Sea Road, Narwankar spent 18 years of his service in D ward — Malabar Hill, Raj Bhavan, Girgaum Chowpatty, Nana Chowk.
Narwankar, who got 8,541 votes, defeated BJP's Ramesh Naik with a margin of more than 3,000 votes.
Luck by chance
The delimitation of wards turned out to be a turning point for Narwankar after Congress loyal Naushir Mehta and his family members decided not to contest for the first time in 50 years due to OBC reservation on the seat. Narwankar, who was close to Mehta, then got the opportunity.
"Fifteen years ago, I had got my first offer from Congress, but I couldn't take it up then due to some problem. After my retirement, senior party leaders approached me again and I decided to join. I started working for the party two years ago but wasn't sure that I would be given a ticket. Looks like it was in my destiny," he said.
When asked about changes he wants to bring in in the BMC, Narwankar told mid-day, "I did social work during my office days. I worked in the waste management and drainage department for most years of my service. Now, my focus will be to arrive at a permanent solution for cleaning house gullies, curb contamination of water, and control health-related problems in the area. BMC has a lot of funds, proper utilisation is what's lacking."
8,541 No of votes that Narwankar got
35 No. of years he worked in the BMC