Party leaders say that with several senior leaders having moved on from the cash-rich civic body, Standing Committee Chairman Yashodhar Phanse’s role has become indispensable
The end of the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance and the fear within the regional party that the BJP could end up with greater control of the cash-rich BMC seems to have cost the civic body’s Standing Committee chairman Yashodhar Phanse his shot at being an MLA this year.
Yashodhar Phanse’s supporters were upset at him being denied the Versova seat. File pic
Several senior Sena leaders like MP Rahul Shewale and former mayor Sunil Prabhu in the BMC have moved on, or are set to do so, to bigger posts and the party felt that having Phanse become an MLA would lead to a leadership vacuum in the civic body.
“The new mayor, Snehal Ambekar, is a first-time corporator and it will take time for her to learn the ropes completely. The BJP already heads the Improvement and Education Committees, and the Standing Committee, which Phanse heads, is very important, as several big proposals cannot be passed without the nod of the Standing Committee chairman. Phanse has a strong hold within the BMC and can help us control the civic body,” said a Sena leader.
The party was also concerned that the other parties in the BMC would team up and block proposals and relatively inexperienced members would not know how to tackle the opposition. “In such a situation, letting Phanse contest the assembly polls from Versova, which the Sena expects to win, was not an option.
We have other candidates for the assembly seat but not too many options as far as the all-important Standing Committee chairman’s post is concerned,” he added. Party sources claimed that Phanse is tipped to retain the post in 2015-16 as well. While Phanse’s supporters were upset at him being denied the Versova seat, where he had already begun a word-of-mouth campaign, the leader himself refused to comment on the issue.