Geeta Gawli had demanded to head the standing committee or chairman’s post of health department of BMC from Shiv Sena but the party refused hence she joined BJP.
At a time when BJP and Shiv Sena are competing with each other for staking claim for the Mayor’s post in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls Akhil Bharatiya Sena (ABS) corporator Geeta Gawli has come forward to extend support to BJP. Gawli’s supports to into BJP will further increase the party’s tally from 82 to 86. Geeta had met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at his bungalow Varsha and had an interaction with him about the current political scenario. Earlier, Geeta was planning to support Shiv Sena and also had talks with leaders Eknath Shinde and Anil Desai. She had demanded the post of standing committee’s president or chairman’s post of health department of BMC from Sena. However, Sena refused to offer her these posts hence she switched her loyalty. Gawli’s decision to join BJP has come as a huge setback for Sena which was trying to garner numbers for installing its Mayor in the civic body. On the other hand, BJP is willing to offer Geeta these posts.
She said, “I will support a party which will focus on development issues. Right now, BJP is ruling the state government by having an alliance with Sena. The party has emerged victorious in various civic body elections in the state and provides good governance. Therefore I have supported BJP.”
“Geeta Gawli has decided to support BJP,” a senior BJP leader said.
“With her support, our strength has gone up to 86, as three other corporators have already backed us,” the leader claimed.
Arun Gawli had formed the Akhil Bharatiya Sena when he was in jail. The ABS had helped the Shiv Sena-BJP combine in 2012 to prove their majority in the House. The Sena-BJP combine at that time had a strength of 106 and were short of eight votes to ensure the selection of their mayor.
In her previous two terms, Geeta had supported the Shiv Sena in the civic body. In return, she was made the chairman of the health committee and also accommodated in the standing committee.
Despite being partners in the state, BJP had severed ties with Shiv Sena as both parties had fought the BMC election single-handedly. The elections to the 227-member BMC threw up a hung verdict, with the Sena winning 84 seats and the BJP 82. Congress finished on the third spot with 31 seats, NCP got nine corporators while Raj Thackeray’s MNS bagged seven seats.
Shiv Sena has claimed support of some Independent candidates. The next Mayor of Mumbai will be elected during the first meeting of the new House on March 8 and Saturday is the last day for filing nominations for the post.