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Maharashtra: Governor sparks an inferno with ‘anti-Marathi’ remarks, douses it after uproar

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 Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari again landed in a hot soup – this time after his perceived ‘anti-Marathi’ remarks, but after a major political row, he made a tactical retreat, here on Saturday.

The stinging salvos were fired in Mumbai on Friday when he lauded the contributions of the Gujarati and Rajasthani communities to the progress and development of Maharashtra, at a ceremony.

“If you remove Gujaratis and Rajasthanis from the state, especially Mumbai and Thane, then nothing will be left. Mumbai will lose its tag of the country’s commercial capital without them,” Koshyari declared.

The utterances sparked into a political inferno with all major political parties – the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party, Congress, the ruling Chief Minister Eknath Shinde faction and his ally Bharatiya Janata Party and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena flaying Koshyari, though Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi’s Dr Prakash Ambedkar patted the Governor.

Chief Minister Shinde termed it as the Governor’s ‘personal views’ which he did not support and said that the contributions of the Marathis to the state and Mumbai can never be denigrated.

“Mumbai has progressed and got fame as the financial capital because of the hard work of Marathis. The Governor must ensure that the Maharashtrian’s pride and image are not hurt by his utterances,” said Shinde in Nashik.

BJP’s Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis categorically said: “We don’t support the Governor’s views” and was supported by ex-minister Ashish Shelar, though MLA Nitesh Rane took an opposing viewpoint.

“The Marathis are famed the world over for their achievements in all sectors and fields. Their contributions to the progress of Mumbai and Maharashtra is significant, and even the Governor is aware of this in his hearta We are not with him,” said Fadnavis.

Ex-CM and Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray said Koshyari has “insulted” the people of the state and now deserves to be shown ‘Kolhapuri chappals (footwear)’.

“He regularly keeps making such controversial statements and does not maintain the dignity of the august office he occupies. He is trying to divide communities and even the Hindus by naming Mumbai and Thane where civic polls will be held shortly. Now it’s time to consider whether this parcel named Koshyari should be packed off from here or put behind bars,” said an agitated Thackeray.

In a sharp attack, Congress General Secretary Sachin Sawant said the Governor habitually demeans and defames Maharashtra and its people, and “those who have sent him here should take him back”.

Slamming the Governor, NCP’s Chief Spokesperson Mahesh Tapase said Koshyari has forgotten that “it were the Marathis who gave their lands and labour” to make the industries and businesses of the migrant communities profitable.

Castigating the Governor, Sena’s Raut said that Koshyari has apparently not read the contributions of stalwarts like Jagannath Shankarsheth who had worked to make Bombay a financial powerhouse from the mid-1850s.

Terming it “Koshyari’s hoshyari” (Koshyari’s oversmartness) MNS President Raj Thackeray asked the Governor not to keep blabbering if he doesn’t know the state’s history as his comments have pained the people here.

“The Marathi people and others have given their lands and labour, and ensured a conducive environment that attracts people from all over to do business here. Do they get these anywhere else? Ahead of the elections, don’t try to spoil the atmosphere or corner the Marathis, that’s my request,” said Raj Thackeray.

Other leaders like NCP MP Supriya Sule, Clyde Crasto, Congress’ Balasaheb Thorat, Atul Londhe, Sena’s Kishori Pednekar and many more snubbed the Governor for his remarks, terming them as in bad taste, not behoving the high office he holds, and recalled how Mumbai was saved by the martyrdom of 105 people during the Samyukta Maharashtra Movement.

However, VBA’s Dr Ambedkar hailed the Governor and said that he has actually taken a swipe at the character of the Congress, NCP, Shiv Sena and BJP for ruling for many years without doing anything to give Marathis any business, which is still controlled by the Gujaratis-Rajasthanis.

“The people of Maharashtra must open their eyes and think whether to continue supporting these parties. The Governor has spoken out his mind and it’s not an insult to the state,” affirmed Dr Ambedkar.

Taken aback by the furious backlash, Governor Koshyari hurriedly clarified that his words were misconstrued as usual and reaffirmed the contributions of Marathis to Mumbai which is the pride of Maharashtra and also the country’s commercial capital.

“I had no intentions to underestimate the Marathis… they have built Maharashtra by sheer hard work and there are many leading Marathi industrialists here, and are famous not only in the state but all over India and the world. Praising one community does not amount to insulting others,” said the Governor in a statement on Saturday.

He reiterated that he was proud of the opportunity to serve the land of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and the Maharashtrians as the Governor and he had even learnt Marathi in a very short time.

Maharashtra

Mira Bhayandar: 266 properties sealed as MBMC struggles to meet ₹200 Cr property tax collection target

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Mira Bhayandar: With just two days left in the ongoing financial year, the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) is facing a herculean task of collecting at least ₹28 crore to keep itself qualified for receiving grants under the 15th finance commission.

Stung by the cold shoulder response to notices and warnings, the MBMC’s tax department has sealed more than 266 properties of chronic tax defaulters who owe more than ₹5 crore. The MBMC  had managed to recover a little over ₹172.58 crore till Tuesday evening which hovers below 79 percent of the total amount billed by the civic body towards property tax collections.

Surge in collection through digital payments

As per information sourced from the tax department, the target was set at ₹190 crore for the financial year 2021-22. However, the MBMC had managed to mop up just ₹161 crore. Against this year’s demand of around ₹222 crore, the MBMC has so far managed to recover a little over ₹172.58 crore 1 April 2022 to 28, March, 2023. The collections were limited to ₹150 crore in the corresponding period last year.

Notably, there has been a surge in collections through digital modes of payments including links on the municipal website and mobile application facilitated by the civic administration. Till now, more than ₹65.12 crore has been received from 1,24,715 taxpayers via digital payments. The assessed number of properties in the twin-city is currently pegged at around 3,68,501 including 63,498 commercial and 3,05,003 residential units. While the actual target is ₹222 crore, the MBMC needs to recover at least ₹200 crore to keep itself qualified for receiving grants under the 15th finance commission. Apart from this the shortfall in revenue generation is all set to put a negative effect on the ongoing developmental projects in the twin city.  

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Maharashtra

Mumbai: Shelar calls for SIT to probe ₹12,000 Cr BMC scam

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Mumbai: The president of BJP’s Mumbai unit, MLA Ashish Shelar has demanded the constitution of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the Rs12,000 crore corruption in the BMC, which has been exposed,

He told media persons on Tuesday that it is necessary to find out the mastermind behind this huge corruption, which involved a lot of kickbacks. 

Shelar to Shinde: Corruption pertains to 76 works undertaken by nine BMC departments


Shelar has written a letter to Chief Minister Eknath Shinde in this regard. He said the corruption pertained to 76 works undertaken by nine BMC departments and alleged that it took place when the Shiv Sena led by Uddhav and Aaditya Thackeray was in power. 

The CAG report was  from Nov 28, 2019 to Oct 31, 2022 and it does not include the works undertaken during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Shelar said there is a ‘yellow book’ with the BMC and a national construction code that tells how roads are supposed to be built. However, in brazen violation of all these rules, contracts were awarded without even floating tenders and that too in excess of the amount mentioned in tender documents. There have been cases of manipulation of tenders and breach of norms, he said, adding that perhaps no other governing body in the country has indulged in a scam of this scale. 

“There have been instances where tenders have been awarded to four companies but actually it is only one. In some other cases, tenders have been awarded to those who were not even qualified. Why were these contractors favoured?” he asked, adding that the CAG report exposed “lack of transparency, negligence, sloppy planning and misappropriation of funds”.

According to the Development Plan of 1993, over 32,394.90 sqm of land in Dahisar was reserved for a garden/ playground/ maternity home. Later, in Dec 2011, a decision for acquisition was made. Its final land acquisition valuation was Rs349.14 crore. Using the formula, the property was valued at Rs206.16 crore, which was 716% more than 2011, Shelar said. He alleged that land price valued at Rs130 crore was hiked to Rs349 crore. “It did not stop here. To allow development, the BMC spent another Rs77.80 crore to remove the encroachments. This means that it spent Rs420 crore on land worth Rs130 crore,” he claimed. 

While working as a corporator in the BMC during 2007, Shelar had exposed the scam in the SAP system. At that time, he had protested in front of the offices of the then municipal commissioner and the then Mayor and had demanded an investigation.

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Maharashtra

MVA predicts President’s rule in Maharashtra after SC verdict

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The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) allies Nationalist Congress Party and Shiv Sena (UBT) have forecast the possibility of President’s rule being imposed in Maharashtra after the upcoming Supreme Court verdict on the disqualification of 16 MLAs, here on Wednesday.

State NCP President Jayant Patil said that after the apex court judgement, the government of Shiv Sena Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Bharatiya Janata Party Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis is most likely to collapse.

“However, there may not be a midterm election as anticipated in some quarters, but instead, Central rule would be imposed after the SC verdict,” asserted Patil, addressing a meeting of party workers in Jalgaon late on Tuesday.

He claimed that the Shinde-Fadnavis government is “scared” of holding mid-term elections and is devising methods on how to postpone all elections due, including local bodies, and Market Committees also, as much as possible.

Endorsing the NCP leader’s stance, Sena (UBT) MP Sanjay Raut said here this morning (March 29) that he is in full agreement with Patil’s assessment of the situation.

“It is very obvious that the SC verdict will ensure the disqualification of 16 MLAs, including Shinde… So, the state government will fall and there will be no other option left. Hence the likelihood of the President’s rule cannot be ruled out,” declared Raut.

The Sena (UBT) leader said that his party had absolutely no doubts that Shinde and the other MLAs would be disqualified, “provided everything goes as per the law”.

The third MVA ally, Congress has not commented on the latest developments, though its top leaders have said several times in the past that the Shinde government will topple after the SC judgement.

Nevertheless, the three parties are optimistic that the apex court outcome could prove to be a turning point for the state politics nine months after the MVA headed by former CM Uddhav Thackeray was ousted following a Shinde-led rebellion in June 2022.

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