New Mumbai mayor's first House meet ends in 10 minutes

Sep 16, 2014, 06:53 IST | Chetna Yerunkar

Three of those minutes were spent on the national song and national anthem and the rest were taken up by the protesting opposition; Ambekar, who was nervous, ended up getting three days to prepare for the next meeting

Snehal Ambekar’s first General Body meeting as mayor ended in a jiffy, so much so that she didn’t even get a chance to sit in the Speaker’s chair to head the meeting on Monday afternoon.

Snehal AmbekarSnehal Ambekar

While the opposition staged protests during the meeting, the experience has made the nervous mayor more confident, and an adjournment gave her three more days to prepare for the next meeting, which will be held on Thursday.

The nervousness of the mayor was visible before the meeting as she reached her chamber way before time, while her predecessors usually got there only much after the scheduled time for the meeting. Before entering the hall, she was going through her papers furiously, rehearsing her speech to avoid fumbling in front of others. Her first House meet, however, ended in less than 10 minutes.

After the national song and national anthem, which took three-odd minutes, there was immediate fracas in the House with opposition leaders holding framed photos of their party chiefs Sharad Pawar and Sonia Gandhi to protest against Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray entering the hall during the mayoral elections on September 9.

mid-day had reported how the opposition leaders had walked out after Uddhav, his son Aaditya and wife Rashmi had walked into the hall while voting was on for the deputy mayor to congratulate their candidate, Ambekar, for her election as the mayor.

By holding up photos of their party chiefs, the opposition leaders wanted to tell the mayor that Uddhav’s entering the House was in violation of norms and since no action was taken against him, they should also be allowed to keep photos of their party leaders in the hall.

The mayor, however, ignored these protests completely and announced that the House was being adjourned to pay homage to victims of the flood in J&K. She waited for the national anthem and then walked out, ending the meeting in less than ten minutes.

'No favours'
Opposition Leader Devendra Amberkar said, “The mayor needs to understand that she has to be neutral and cannot favour any one person. Uddhav Thackeray came into the hall when voting was on and even we want our party leaders to be present there, which is why we had got the framed photos. But, since she adjourned the House, we could not do anything.”

Mayor Ambekar said, “I got an understanding of how the opposition functions in my very first House meeting today as they kept on protesting even while I was giving my adjournment speech. The experience has, however, made me more confident about chairing the next meeting, as I was nervous today.”

Netizens pro-beacon?
It seems netizens agree with the mayor’s controversial stand to keep the red beacon on her car despite the opposition threatening to file a contempt case against her.

The mayor had taken to Facebook to know people’s opinion on the issue. More than 180 people have liked her post and more than 120 have commented. More than 80% of the comments are in favour of the mayor using a car with a red beacon on it.

While this has boosted Ambekar’s confidence in her stand, she hasn’t written to the CM yet. She is doing her homework on the issue and has also asked the law department to check on all the legal aspects.

“I am yet to meet the group leaders of various parties and take a call on this issue. Until then, I will not write to the CM and I do not want to do anything that will be in contempt of court.”

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