Shiv Sena’s Vishwanath Mahadeshwar is new Mumbai mayor

Vishwanath Mahadeshwar's election as the 76th mayor of Mumbai comes as the culmination of a fierce battle between Shiv Sena and BJP for the political reins of the city

Abhiram Ghadyalpatil
Updated8 Mar 2017
Mumbai Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar, a former principal of Raje Sambhaji Vidyalaya and Junior College Mumbai, was elected from the Bandra ward. Photo: Anshuman Poyrekar/Hindustan Times
Mumbai Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar, a former principal of Raje Sambhaji Vidyalaya and Junior College Mumbai, was elected from the Bandra ward. Photo: Anshuman Poyrekar/Hindustan Times

Mumbai: Shiv Sena nominee Vishwanath Mahadeshwar was on Wednesday elected the new mayor of Mumbai in an election which had turned predictable after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) pulled out of the contest.

Mahadeshwar’s election as the 76th mayor of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, India’s richest civic body, comes as the culmination of a fierce battle between the Sena and BJP for the political reins of the country’s financial capital. The BJP, in an apparently friendly gesture towards the Sena, voted for Mahadeshwar in an election which was conducted through a show of hands.

However, the election did have its moments of competition when BJP corporators boisterously raised the chants of “Modi, Modi” which the Sena members countered with equally boisterous chants of “Balasaheb Thackeray”, the late Shiv Sena founder.

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had announced last week that the BJP corporators would vote for the Sena nominee if required. Fadnavis’s decision was seen as an attempt to secure stability of his government where the Sena is a junior partner. During the BMC election campaign, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had threatened to pull out support.

ALSO READ: BJP-Shiv Sena’s BMC politics plays out in Maharashtra assembly

Even though the election of the Sena nominee was a mere formality after BJP pulled out of the contest, the Sena made it a point to exploit the occasion for a big show of strength. Sena president Uddhav Thackeray himself led all his corporators including Mahadeshwar to Hutama chowk, a memorial to the martyrs of the Samyuka Maharashtra movement (United Maharashtra movement), to offer tributes, and then to the BMC headquarters nearby. All Sena corporators and Thackeray himself were wearing saffron colours while the city was inundated with posters which said “the Sena had won Mumbai one more time”.

The Shiv Sena has been ruling the BMC since 1997 though in alliance with BJP which was till recently a much junior partner but which won only two seats less than Sena this time around.

Mahadeshwar, 56, a former principal of Raje Sambhaji Vidyalaya and Junior College in Mumbai, was elected from the Bandra ward in the recent civic elections. This is his third term as a Sena corporator.

Hemangi Waralikar of the Shiv Sena was elected deputy mayor. Mahadeshwar and Waralikar defeated Congress nominees Vitthal Lokre and Winnie D’Souza.

The Shiv Sena nominees got support from 171 of 227 members of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). The Shiv Sena has 84 members and its nominee got votes of five independent corporators. All 82 BJP corporators raised their hands in support of the Sena nominees.

Congress nominees got 31 votes, all of them from their own party. Nationalist Congress Party’s nine corporators stayed neutral while Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s seven corporators did not attend the house.

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