Sena-BJP fissure becomes clear over trench-filling issue
BJP supports Opposition, rejects Sena decision on appointment of contractors for filling up trenches dug up by utility agencies
With Lok Sabha elections around the corner, it’s time for political parties to make new friends and cosy up to the electorate. But, at least in Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the ruling alliance between Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is appearing more fragile with each passing day.
Yesterday, a proposal was tabled in a standing committee meeting to appoint contractors for filling up trenches dug by myriad utility agencies. As the average rate quoted by the bidders was only about 50 per cent of the estimated costs, Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and Samajwadi Party resisted this situation, claiming that if the contractors charged a lower price, the quality of work would be sub-par. BJP too joined the opposition parties in protesting Sena’s stand.
The hitch was that if Sena had gone for voting over the proposal, because of its ally’s stance, the proposition would have been rejected. Theoretically, there were 10 votes on the opposition side, against 12 from Sena-BJP. But the absence of BJP’s four votes as the party staged a walkout along with opposition members forced Sena to suspend the pitch. “They (Sena) are with the contractors, and we opposed this. We are against the working style of the standing committee chairman,” said BJP corporator Dilip Patel.
Rahul Shewale, Sena corporator and chairman of the standing committee, only said, “No comments.” The administration has put a proposal of seven contractors being appointed for the work. The estimated cost for each zone was Rs 20 crore, whereas, on average, the contractors quoted about Rs 10 crore or less as the rate. “How would contractors provide decent quality of work, if they bid 50 per cent less? So the administration should go for re-tendering,” said Devendra Amberkar, opposition leader in BMC.
The administration, however, said that the re-tendering process would take time, and the filling of trenches would be affected till the process is complete. “Finally, the proposal has been put on hold for a week, to give time to the administration to come up with a solution,” said Shewale.