By Suresh Golani. Photographs by Azim Tamboli
BJP, Sena celebrate Gudi Padwa with ugly fight at inaugural venue
As the twin-city welcomed the New Year on the auspicious occasion of Gudi Padwa, Cheti Chand and Ugadi, an ugly display of chaos and sloganeering continued between the workers of BJP and Shiv Sena at a ceremony to inaugurate the elevated storage reservoir (ESR) in the Shanti Nagar area of Mira Road yesterday.
Blaming each other for garnering cheap publicity, sitting corporators of the ward almost came to blows and manhandled each other in a brawl which took place in full public view ahead of the inaugural ceremony arranged by the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC), sources said. After the alleged hijack attempt by Shiv Sena cadres, the ESR was finally inaugurated by mayor Dimple Mehta in the presence of deputy mayor Chandrakant Vaity, BJP group leader Hasmukh Gehlot, City Engineer Shivaji Barkund and local corporators. Thanks to the timely intervention of police personnel and a strict warning by Senior Police Inspector Balaji Pandhare, an impending crisis was diffused. The 4-panel ward in question is represented by BJP corporators Ashwin Kasodariya, Dinesh Jain, Hetal Parmar and Sena’s Dipti Bhatt. Former allies BJP and Shiv Sena have now turned into bitter rivals, ever since the former swept the civic polls last year to single-handedly wrestle control over the MBMC, pushing the peeved Shiv Sena into the opposition.
“After the scuffle, Dipti is in a state of shock and has been admitted to hospital. She is not in a condition to speak,” claimed her husband Shekhar Bhatt.
“All local corporators, irrespective of their parties were invited. In fact, it was the panel which was supposed to host the event. However, by trying to hijack the ceremony, the Shiv Sena unnecessarily raked up the controversy. The ESR is going to ease the water woes of the enire region,” said BJP corporator Ahswin Kasodariya.
Street fight stuns locals
“It is really very unfortunate and hard to believe that these are our elected representatives who are shamelessly fighting like hooligans,” said local resident Jagdish Shah. The incident has once again exposed, with the negative effects of the recently introduced four-member panel system starting to take a toll on the development of the twin-city.
Shiv Sena leaders attempting to open the valve of the ESR ahead of the inaguration ceremony amidst stiff resistance from BJP workers
Sena corporator showing her injury marks
Shiv Sena corporator Dipti Shekhar Bhatt admitted to a hospital in Bhayandar
The ESR in Mira Road