LS, state polls next year, political heat set to hit civic body

Sparks flying already; BJP corporator changes stand, supports PMC sporting event; Sena members skip crucial meet

With Assembly and Lok Sabha polls slated for 2014, political activities in the city are likely to gain momentum this year, which is all set to have its impact on the local civic body.

The very first day of the New Year provided a glimpse of things to come. The saffron combine, which had been opposing the move of the ruling NCP to hold a wrestling competition on behalf of the PMC, changed its stand on approving the expenditure of Rs 1 crore for the three-hour event that will have international participants, including those from Pakistan.

The NCP had taken the lead in organising the competition as part of the policy to promote sports in the city. Mayor Vaishali Bankar of the NCP, taking advantage of the resolution of empowering the mayor to organise sports events, had decided to hold the wrestling competition. However, a controversy erupted after sports committee chairperson Avinash Bagwe of Congress objected to it, saying the committee was not taken into confidence, but the mayor paid no heed to it, saying she held the powers.

When the proposal seeking sanction of funds for organising the event came up before the standing committee last week, the NCP was left alone as all Opposition parties MNS, BJP and Shiv Sena, along with the ruling alliance partner Congress, objected to it. The decision was deferred for a week and was tabled again on Tuesday where it got through due to the change in stand by political parties.

The NCP managed to get the approval with a BJP corporator casting the crucial vote in favour of the proposal after scores were tied in support of and against the move. All six members of the NCP voted in favour of it while all three members of MNS, two of the three BJP members and one of the three Congress members voted against it. One BJP corporator voted in favour of the proposal, giving a narrow victory to the NCP.

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