The trifurcation of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation demanded by the Congress rocked the Legislative Assembly Tuesday, with the ruling BJP MLAs alleging a “design to break away” the commercial capital of Mumbai from Maharashtra. Speaking in the House on the increasing incidents of accidents like Monday’s fire in a Sakinaka shop that claimed 12 lives, Congress MLA Naseem Khan said, “The BMC should be split into three for better management of the city and its extended suburbs.”
The Congress demand elicited support from the NCP, which said there was nothing wrong in division of work for better management of the city and its suburbs. The party said such a decision would not alter the status of Mumbai. BJP MLA Ashish Shellar raised a strong objection to the demand and said, “The trifurcation demand aims to break Mumbai into pieces. There is a larger design of the Congress to break Mumbai away from Maharashtra. The BJP will not allow such nefarious design to succeed.”
The BJP’s attack invited support from ally Shiv Sena. Sena-BJP members walked to the well of the House and raised slogans against the Congress and the NCP. The Congress and the NCP said suggestion for trifurcation was misrepresented.
Senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar said, “The BJP is trying to give a political twist to the issue. The Congress member’s recommendation was for better management of the city and its suburbs. Such arrangements have been voiced in past in various cities including Pune. Such administrative decisions do not undermine the status of Mumbai.”
Angry exchanges followed between the ruling and Opposition MLAs. BJP-Sena members demanded an apology from Khan. The Congress MLA twice tried to explain his objective, which he said was never intended to break Mumbai.