With the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s (MNS) strength in the House now reduced to 28 corporators, which is at par with the Congress’, Mayor Vaishali Bankar appointed Congress corporator Arvind Shinde as the new leader of Opposition during the Pune Municipal Corporation’s General Body (GB) meeting yesterday.
The MNS was the principal opposition party with MNS corporator Vasant More holding the post of leader of the opposition. But, after the recent disqualification of the MNS corporators Priya Gadade and Kalpana Bahirat, the party was in direct conflict with the Congress that had laid its claim on the post of leader of opposition, after arguing that it had equal number of corporators as the MNS.
The turn of events did not go down well with the MNS and their corporators created a ruckus at the meeting after the announcement, gathering in front of the mayor’s desk and demanding an explanation from the mayor.
Vasant More, while arguing with the mayor, said, “As the name itself implies, the post should be held by the opposition party. Congress is a ruling party along with the NCP. We want an explanation that this decision is based on which rule and law? We will surely approach the court.”
“How the post of the opposition party leader could be with by the ruling party. It does not make any sense. They should understand the meaning of opposition. Currently BJP, Shiv-Sena and MNS are the opposition parties and the opposition party that has maximum members should hold the post. In these three parties we have maximum members,” said MNS corporator Rupali Patil.
The Congress’ argument is that it had become the second largest party in the house. Based on that contention, Congress city president Abhay Chhajed had recently sent a letter to the mayor stating that as per the Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporation (BPMC) Act, if there are equal number of members in two or three parties then while appointing the Opposition leader, priority should be given to the national party rather than a State or regional one. He asserted that since MNS is a State party, Congress has a legal right to claim that post.
While making the announcement, Mayor Bankar said, “We have taken a decision based on the Maharashtra Municipal Act 19 A, which states the post should be allotted to the party having maximum members. In case the numbers are the same, preference should be given to the national Party.”