In politics, one party’s gain is another’s poison. On Friday, when Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray called for a meeting of top BMC officials, including commissioner Ajoy Mehta, a tug-of-war to claim credit for the coastal road project commenced.
The reason: While the BJP-led present government bagged clearance for the project in 2015, according to the Shiv Sena, it was their chief Uddhav Thackeray who came up with the idea in 2012.
The extra emphasis on the project to get started is also related to Thackeray’s tagline from the last BMC election campaign, Karun Dakhavala (we proved it). If work on the project starts, Sena can claim credit for it while campaigning for the 2016 BMC elections.
Sena, since Prithviraj Chavan’s Congress rule in Maharashtra, wanted to speed up the coastal road project, but permissions were difficult to come by. A presentation on the same was even made by then BMC commissioner Subodh Kumar in 2011.
In 2015, the BJP-led government however, managed to get the clearances. Sena claims acquiring clearances is the work of the state government, and nothing extraordinary has been done, while BJP claims credit for getting the cat belled.
Sanjay Raut, Shiv Sena MP, said, "The coastal road was Uddhav Thackeray’s vision to curb the traffic problems faced by motorists in the western belt travelling towards South Mumbai. Others are taking credit now. They (BJP) are in government, and of course, it is their job to get clearances."
BJP thinks otherwise. Niranjan Shetty, chief spokesperson of the Mumbai BJP, said, "The Shiv Sena was in power for long and we didn’t have good roads. Uddhavji should understand the limitations of the corporation. If something has to be done regarding the coastal road, the corporation will be dependent on the state government. It is not important to say Karun Dakhavala, (we proved it) but Karun Ghetla (we did it)."