Ruling, Oppn parties mount personal attacks as NMC polls draw closer

NMC Building
As the elections to Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) draw closer and closer, personal attacks among political rivals are witnessing a jump. Issues of public interest are taking a backseat but rounds of stinging personal rants have become a routine. The NMC witnessed a kind of scenario where ruling and opposition members waged war of words against each other recently.

A heavyweight Opposition Corporator has been raising the wood scam at crematoriums since years and was targeting an equally influential ruling party Corporator for his role in the “deal” indirectly. However, the “solid” support from the ruling dispensation invariably failed to make any further inroads as the Opposition would have desired. The frequent drawbacks had turned the Opposition a frustrated lot despite having “solid” evidence of the wood scam.

Not to be outdone by the Opposition onslaught, the newly elected Deputy Mayor Satish Holay struck back at the Opposition Corporator by raiding a Bhandewadi-based company dealing in disposal of bio-waste collected from various hospitals and ‘exposing’ the ‘dirty’ acts of the company. The company is run by a close aide of the Opposition Corporator. However, the Deputy Mayor failed to bare any scam-like activity indulged by the bio-waste disposal company. But the raid apparently settled a personal score.

However, the General Body Meeting of NMC last month had witnessed a storm when the ruling party Corporator (against whom allegations of wood scam were leveled by the Opposition member) was asked by the Deputy Mayor to raise the issue of raid on bio-waste disposal company and cornered the chief of Health Department by questioning him on “dirty” acts of the company. The queries were related to many aspects such as who is running the company, who were the directors when the company was awarded the contract, who are the present directors etc. The attempt was aimed at embarrassing the Opposition Corporator.

Replying to the queries, the chief of Health Department had replied that a couple was at the helm when the company was given contract but had distanced themselves away from the company affairs years ago. All the current directors have “links” with the ruling party, he had replied. According to sources, the couple has direct connections with the said Opposition Corporator. The unnecessary mention of the names of the couple in the issue had left the Opposition Corporators furious. And to teach a “lesson” to the ‘tainted’ ruling party Corporator, the said Opposition Corporator, who is President of the biggest rival party, bared one more scam publicly. The scam is that the ruling party Corporator won the civic body polls or helped others win on the basis of ‘bogus’ voters. This ruling party Corporator had created thousands of bogus voters who are originally natives of rural areas and come to city only to vote during NMC polls. The Opposition Corporator was well armed with this information but was avoiding direct personal attacks. However, the matter came to his head, he exposed the ‘bogus voter’ scam and also demanded a probe by Divisional Commissioner and guilty punished.

Such and other attacks to settle personal scores are taking the centre-stage as the NMC polls draw nearer and nearer.

Notably, for the record, the trio – Deputy Mayor and the two “fighting” Corporators – were earlier in the same party. Denying of tickets to two of them forced them to contest the civic body poll as Independents and win, too. One of them also figured as an office-bearer in the executive committee as announced by the ruling party recently. One of them was also made the Deputy Mayor, and this Deputy Mayor then indulged in settling personal scores against his old party colleague who is now Opposition member, albeit, unsuccessfully.

The settling of personal scores and bouts of personal attacks are likely to increase to derive political mileage in the coming elections to Nagpur Municipal Corporation.

–Rajeev Ranjan Kushwaha ( )