The Congress party has also slammed the DMK leader for his remarks insulting Sanatan Dharma.
Indicating differences in the Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance, the Congress has indirectly targeted ally Shiv Sena by demanding a CBI probe into Mumbai road contracts between 2017-2022, ahead of the civic elections.
The plea by ex-union minister and senior leader Milind M. Deora came a day after Mumbai Bharatiya Janata Party President Ashish Shelar also made a similar demand to probe the Shiv Sena’s affairs in the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
The Sena, led by ex-chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, has been ruling the BMC for over a quarter century, independently or in partnership with its former ally BJP.
Setting political circles aflutter, Deora sought an investigation into a reported staggering amount of Rs 12,000 crore spent by the BMC in road repairs in the past five years.
This amount, he contended, is 10 per cent of the annual budget of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and yet Mumbaikars have to endure poor roads or hop over potholes every year during monsoons.
“Mumbai braves bad roads and has the right to know who is looting India’s richest civic body… I demand a CBI probe. Roads are just the tip of the iceberg,” added Deora, a former Mumbai Congress chief.
Incidentally, on August 24, the state government also ordered the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) to conduct a special audit into the allegations of massive irregularities into the BMC’s working.
Former Congress Leader of Opposition in the BMC and senior leader D. Raja concurred with the demand and said there are a lot of suspicions which can be cleared by a proper probe.
“After spending so much, we are witnessing the results everyday… The cold-mix method used by the BMC has always given a bad result but still the administration insists on it,” said Raja.
State Congress President Nana Patole stated that since the BMC went to the Sena-BJP, “they have sunk Mumbai”.
“When the BMC was ruled by Congress with our Mayors, the city never got flooded even during very heavy rains, but now the situation is different along with the miserable roads,” Patole said.
While announcing the CAG special audit, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis referred to specific complaints of money being siphoned off and assured that the probe will be done seriously in a time-bound manner.
He said that the government will focus on improving the road conditions in Mumbai and within three years, would strive for roads free of potholes and all concrete roads will be provided with duct facilities.
As all parties prepare for the upcoming BMC elections, the Sena has not yet reacted to the latest developments or the salvo fired by its ally Congress, besides the government and the BJP.