Congress may wrest opposition leader's post in PMC from MNS

The one-year-old hold of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) over the post of leader of opposition in Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is likely to come to an end soon followed by the disqualification of party corporator Priya Gadade for submitting bogus birth certificate while filing election nomination in February 2012. At this moment both MNS and Congress have 28 elected members each in the civic body house.

Shown the door: Priya Gadade

The Court of Small Causes has given Gadade time till April 6 to file her ‘say’ on the issue. She is approaching Bombay High Court to challenge the decision.

The politico was charged for indulging in corrupt practices for contesting elections, and Court of Small Causes Judge M Sidique M Umar disqualified her. Gadade was found to have forged a birth certificate showing her to be 21 years old at the time of contesting the polls in February 2012. 

The petition was filed by defeated Congress candidate Laxmi Chavan, who alleged that Gadade was not eligible to contest the polls as she was below 21 years of age.

Speaking to MiD DAY, Arvind Shinde, Congress Group Leader in PMC, said, “Technically, I will be the leader of opposition if things go smoothly. But, Congress had not made any such claims. Gadade and MNS are going to Bombay HC. I can’t stake claim for the post if the court puts a stay on the decision of disqualifying Gadade. The picture is likely to get clearer by today (Tuesday).”

“We are with Gadade and support her to go to a higher court. We shall not leave our existing number two position, as the second largest party after securing 29 seats, only behind the ruling Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which got 54. There is no question of losing the post of leader of opposition,” said MNS leader Ranvindra Dhangekar.

Vasant More, leader of opposition and MNS corporator, was not available for comment as he was in Kashmir on a personal trip.

Subhash Jagtap, leader of PMC house, said, “In principle and even as per the High Court ruling, Congress is the second largest party in the house as it is a national-level party. Earlier, Bombay HC had given a verdict in favour of Congress when BJP’s Vikas Mathkari made a claim for the post of leader of opposition in the house by flaunting the joint strength of 45 seats of BJP and Shiv Sena in 2007. The HC, however, gave its verdict in favour of Congress leader Aba Bagul, who subsequently became leader of opposition as the party had 45 seats.” 

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