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Eye On Mumbai Civic Polls, CM Shinde Announces Huge Bonus To BMC, BEST Staff Prior To Diwali

In view of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation elections, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said on Thursday that the employees of BMC and Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) will each receive a bonus of Rs 22,500 ahead of Diwali.

More than 93,000 employees receive the bonus. BEST staff, BMC officials and teachers/non-teaching staff in schools will receive Rs 22,500, while health workers will receive one month’s salary as a bonus.

The announcement came a week after former Prime Minister Uddhav Thackeray challenged the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) to hold elections for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and Maharashtra Assembly polls within a month, defeating his outfit.

“The Union Home Secretary Amit Shah has asked his party (BJP) to show the Shiv Sena its place in Mumbai polls. I challenge you to try it. Shiv Sena’s relationship with the city was unbreakable and the party was closely linked to the everyday life of ordinary Mumbaikars, who came to their aid when needed,” he said.

The president of Shiv Sena said that whether it be natural disasters or terrorist attacks, it is the Shiv Sainik who is the first to respond to them and come to the aid of the people, not the BJP. “I challenge Amit Shah that if you have the guts, hold the BMC polls in a month and also hold parliamentary elections,” he said.

Thackeray claimed to have a deep link between Shiv Sena and Mumbai and said, “Did you (the BJP) even understand Mumbai before you thought of winning it? Before you win the civic body, you have to win the hearts of Mumbaikars who are the Shiv Sena has,” said the former CM.

Thackeray said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Interior Minister Shah, central agencies and the “traitors” (a reference to Sena rebel MLAs led by Chief Minister Shinde) will attack the Shiv Sena from all sides.

“Fight this (BMC) election as your (party workers) first election. Suppose we have nothing… the civil body, corporations. Remember that the MLAs, MPs who left us lost the polls in the last election and we have to start a new battle again,” the Sena leader said.

Thackeray’s scathing remarks against the Union’s interior minister came in response to Shah’s statement during a visit to Mumbai earlier this month in which he urged BJP leaders and workers to inflict a “deeper wound”. to the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena in his home area.

Shah, a former BJP president, had criticized Thackeray, saying he had compromised everything to become the CM with the support of the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress, despite being in the polls. of 2019 votes had been requested on behalf of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis.

The Shiv Sena has ruled the public body of Mumbai for nearly 30 years. In the 2017 BMC polls, the Shiv Sena won 84 seats, the lowest number in the 227-member civilian body in two decades, while the BJP significantly improved its numbers to take 82 seats. Currently, the BMC is headed by an administrator as the civil body’s five-year term has expired and elections are pending.

The BJP has also used events such as Ganeshotsav (Ganesh festival) and ‘Marathi katta’ (an idea-sharing place) to win over Marathi voters ahead of the pivotal Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls.

(With inputs from PTI)

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