Throwing his weight behind NMMC commisioner Tukaram Mundhe, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday suspended the no-confidence motion passed by the NCP -ruled body against the IAS officer popular among the public for his firm stand against illegal constructions.
“The no-confidence motion has been suspended by state government and the (Navi Mumbai) Mayor has been asked to submit a response in 30 days as to why the civic body took such an action,” an official in the chief minister’s Office said.
Even as the suspension of motion is viewed as the CM’s endorsement of the officer who had ruffled feathers of corporators in the satellite city, it’s also aimed at sending the message that BJP stands for transparency. BJP is facing forthcoming local body polls on the ‘clean image’ of Fadnavis.
The motion, passed 105 to 6 on 25 October, was sent to the Urban Development department headed by Fadnavis.
While BJP corporators had opposed the motion, its ally in the Maharashtra government Shiv Sena had joined hands with NCP and Congress and supported it.
Terming the government’s decision as “extremely unfortunate”, Navi Mumbai Mayor Sudhakar Sonawane said, “This decision was definitely avoidable by the government as this clearly violates the provisions of Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporations Act (BPMCA). The elected representatives across the party lines voted against him.”
He alleged that the IAS officer has been exercising his executive powers “absolutely autocratically” and almost all the decisions taken by him have landed in controversy and therefore court have given stay in many of them.
Sonawane had earlier sought removal of Mundhe from his post and even met Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray for the demand.
The development is also viewed as a snub to Sena which had voted against the officer.
Thackeray had said, “If the CM does not want to respect majority and the decision taken through a democratic way, then he should change rules and withdraw the right of passing of a no-confidence motion from corporators and act according to his own will.”
When asked what would be his further course of action, Sonawane said, “There are several ways available in democracy.
We resorted the first one (bringing no-confidence motion) and the second one is to challenge it in court as major provisions of BPMCA have been violated. We would definitely think about the second option.”
When contacted, Mundhe told PTI, “As of now, the government has suspended the motion passed by the House and has given one month’s more time to Mayor or the corporation to present anything more if they have or want to and thereafter government will take a final call.”
Meanwhile, activists hailed government’s decision as “morale booster” for upright officers like Mundhe.
“This is really welcoming. chief minister has stood and supported Mundhe and this has definitely sent a soothing message among the honest officers and masses too,” said RTI activist Anil Galgali.
(With inputs from PTI)