So what was high up on Sunil Prabhu’s agenda as he took to his seat as the city’s newly- elected mayor? Potholed roads? Choked drains? Guess again. Sources have said that Prabhu carefully took stock of his office arrangement, and realigned his seat of power to propitiate the Gods, in strict keeping with Vastu Shastra principles. Prabhu’s chair is now facing the west.
His interior decoration spree adds Prabhu to a long line of past mayors, who preceded him to the chair. The past mayor Shraddha Jadhav for instance, sought Vastu consultation and had changed her seating arrangement to face the south during her tenure.
Sources close to Prabhu told MiD DAY in confidence that former mayors from the Shiv Sena – Nandu Satam, Hareshwar Patil, Mahadeo Deole, Datta Dalvi and Milind Vaidya – all sat facing the south. Ironically, their political careers sank in the same direction. Satam and Patil were mired in controversies during their respective tenures, and were shunted to obscure margins after their completion. Vaidya too could only make it to corporator seats after his insignificant tenure. Dalvi, who went on to contest for the post of MLA from Vikhroli, was defeated by MNS newbie Mangesh Sangle. Deole too has faded into obscurity after his term. Even Prabhu’s two immediate forerunners – Shubha Raul and Shraddha Jadhav, are now mere corporators.
But Prabhu perhaps is not taking inspiration from these failed Vastu aficionados, but is hoping to join the league of former mayor and fellow Vastu enthusiast Manohar Joshi, who went from strength to strength and wrested one political laurel after another, since his tenure as mayor. Joshi, after completing his stint as mayor, graduated to the seat of MLA, went on to become chief minister of Maharashtra, Member of Parliament and finally became the Lok Sabha speaker.
According to those close to Prabhu, he is following the example set by other successful politicians who similarly favoured he west – these include the former speaker of Maharashtra Assembly Dattaji Nalawade, former minister Sudhir Joshi, present PWD minister Chagan Bhujbal, MLA Diwakar Raote, and former MLA Chandrakant Padwal. Prabhu’s fervent attempts not to lose direction are understandable – after all, the 42-year-old has already lost his last assembly election in 2009 to fellow corporator Rajhans Singh from the Dindoshi assembly constituency, even though it was his home turf.
Prabhu is now gearing up to contest from Dindoshi again in another two years. Small wonder he doesn’t want his luck to go southward. Prabhu said, “This is the original place where the earlier mayors used to sit, so I prefer to sit facing the west. Also, this is a comfortable spot from which to chair meetings. It is not related to Vastu Shastra.”