Facing pressure ahead of the civic polls next year, the BJP-ruled Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) on Friday issued show-cause notices to 27 “insincere” party corporators, including two legislators elected to the Assembly in 2017, for not attending the civic body’s general body meeting the day before.
An online meeting of the civic general body was held on Thursday to take a decision regarding a tax-hike proposal, with a plan to reject it and provide relief to local residents. The meeting began as scheduled but it was soon learnt that attending party corporators were less in number, despite there having been official communication and reminders. Subsequently, the ruling BJP had to delay its decision regarding the proposal to avoid embarrassment, as per sources. Party workers had reached out to corporators during the meeting, urging them to rush to their respective ward offices, but 27 of them remained absent, sources added.
“It is necessary for party corporators to attend the general body meetings of the PMC and take decisions in the interest of local residents. A special general body meeting was called to take a decision regarding the civic administration’s proposal on tax hike, wherein it was decided to reject the proposal and provide relief to residents. Thus, the 27 party corporators that remained absent for the meeting and did not follow the party’s discipline have been served show-cause notices,” said Ganesh Bidkar, BJP member and leader of the House in the PMC.
The party learnt that several office-bearers, who are members of various committees in the civic body, were absent for the general body meeting, the maximum from Nagar Road area, the home turf of city BJP chief Jagdish Mulik.
The party action comes in the backdrop of speculations that many of its sitting corporators, who had defected to the BJP ahead of the 2017 civic polls, are likely to return to their previous political parties. According to sources, a few corporators have already begun reaching out to senior leaders of opposition parties to create grounds for their return.
In the 2017 civic polls, the BJP had come to power in the PMC for the first time after winning 97 of the 162 seats by importing leaders from rival parties.
According to sources, the city BJP has swung into action to retain power in the civic body. It recently organised a two-day workshop for party corporators at Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini in Thane to prepare for the upcoming civic polls. State BJP chief Chandrakant Patil and former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis also reviewed civic projects to improve civic performance at the workshop.
As per directives of the state government, permission to conduct offline general body meetings has not been granted and online meetings are recommended. However, online general body meetings with corporators joining from their homes or offices could not be properly executed due to technical issues. Thus, the ruling BJP decided to make arrangements for corporators to attend online general body meetings from their respective ward offices, but faced allegations that the ruling party was deliberately not holding offline meetings to avoid the wrath of opposition.
Sources said the ruling BJP has been under pressure to highlight its performance regarding developmental works in the city – which were stalled due to pandemic – and is struggling to hold general body meetings to clear the implementation of new projects and policies. The party repeatedly sought the state government’s permission to hold offline meetings of the general body in a bid to clear pending proposals. As no clarification was received from the state government, the ruling BJP decided to hold an online meeting on Thursday.
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