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Gangster kin to head BMC committees

What seems more democratic than the polls per se is the politics of kingmaking. The Shiv Sena-led coalition’s success in the civic polls did not translate into an absolute majority in the BMC house. So, it had to strike deals with some gangster families to garner enough numbers to attain the majority of 114 corporators. And making its promise good, it is now sharing chairmanships of various civic committees with them. 

Gangster’s paradise: Corporator Geeta Gawli with mother Asha after she won from Byculla; Sabaredi Bora (right) after he became corporator from ward no 175 in Mahim. File pics

Arun Gawli’s daughter Geeta, is elected as chairperson of the health committee. A two-time corporator from Byculla, she has also been appointed as a member of the BMC standing committee, a key body which approves the civic budget which is over Rs 26,000 crore this year. She contested on an Akhil Bharatiya Sena ticket.  Arun Gawli’s sister-in-law, Vandana Gawli, has also bagged a crucial position. She is a member of the civic improvements committee, which deals with all land reservation issues. 

Sabaredi Mallesh Bora — brother of gangster Ravi aka D K Rao who has been accused in several cases in the city — became chairman of the committee for markets and gardens for this fiscal. Bora of the RPI (A) is a first time corporator from Mahim’s ward number 175. “It’s a fact, but without their support we could not have come in power in the BMC. There was no option but to give them chairmanship of various committees,” said a Sena corporator on the condition of anonymity. 

The Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party-Republican Party of India (A) combine had only 107 corporators; they needed at least 114 to secure a majority. So Milind Narvekar, PA to Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray, played a key role in cutting the deals. “This was the time Narvekar entered and played the role of a manager, which was vital,” the corporator added. Narvekar was not available for comment despite repeated attempts to get in touch with him.
The elections for the chairmanship of committees were held last week. Incidentally, fugitive gangster Chhota Rajan’s sister Sunita Chavan also contested the elections on an RPI (A) ticket but did not win this time.

All laid out
Geeta Gawli has already decided her focus areas in the BMC’s health sector for the coming year. “I would be tackling various diseases in the city one by one, although the civic body has been doing that for long. I would see to it that there are more fogging machines, and that fogging is carried out during night as well. Malaria and swine flu control are on the agenda currently. There would be diabetes centres in all the wards. In the standing committee meetings, I’ll raise the issue of private cleaners in hospitals, as many are absent from the current staff; relatives of these people are educated and they do not want to do the cleaning work,” said Gawli. Bora wasn’t as decided about his POA. “I would respond about my plans after studying the issues in the markets and gardens department,” he said. 

Assets
Geeta has movable assets worth Rs 1.35 crore. This includes Rs 2 lakh in cash, apart from jewellery worth Rs 6 lakh and a vehicle worth Rs 32 lakh. She owns a flat worth Rs 2.16 lakh. She owes Rs 10.80 lakh in the way of bank loan. Sabaredi Bora has Rs 12.88 lakh worth property, both movable and immovable. His movable assets include Rs 20,000 cash and two vehicles, Innova and an auto rickshaw, along with 86 g gold jewellery. His most valuable asset is his 100-sq ft house worth Rs 10 lakh. 

Saffron numbers
Party              Corporators
Shiv Sena:           75
BJP:                      31
RPI (A):                1
Independents:   18
(Sena-BJP supported)
Total:                   125 

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