A routine session of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) turned uproarious on Tuesday, after Congress and Shiv Sena corporators exchanged blows over the issue of renewing the lease of Mumbai racecourse.
A 225-acre racecourse land in the heart of Mumbai, where the Royal Western India Turf Club Limited, one of the oldest and most well-known clubs hosts horse racing, has acquired a political dimension, with the Sena opposing the extension of lease to the racecourse. The lease ended on May 31. The Sena wants it to be turned into a garden and has indicated its intention to build a memorial of late Bal Thackeray on the same land.
The Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled BMC on Tuesday passed a proposal opposing the extension of lease, despite severe opposition from the Congress and other parties. The Sena-BJP combine passed the proposal on the basis of number advantage.
Angered over the Mayor’s swift action of clearing the proposal without even considering the Opposition’s point of view, Congress corporator Sheetal Mhatre stormed to his table and kept bangles at the table as a mark of protest. She accused him of being partial by not letting the Opposition speak. Her act did not go down too well with two of the Sena corporators, Kishori Pedanekar and Yamini Jadhav, who rushed towards Ms. Mhatre and attacked her. The Congress corporator received several blows at the hands of the two Sena corporators, who were then separated by the other members.
“The entire Opposition had asked for a discussion on this issue. But Sena’s Mayor Sunil Prabhu for reasons best known to him, did not want any discussion. I went to his table and kept bangles and told him that if he has no guts to face the discussion, then he should wear them,” said Ms. Mhatre, while speaking with reporters after the incident. She said that the Sena corporators attacked her for no reason.
Ms. Pedanekar later said that the Congress corporator had crossed her limit. “How can we remain quiet when a person disrespects our Mayor? We taught her the lesson in Sena’s style,” she said.
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has condemned the incident and has called for the suspension of all the corporators involved in the action.