Vishwanath Mahadeshwar is new Mumbai mayor: All you need to know about the ex-college principal

Shiv Sena legislator and three-time corporator from Santacruz, Vishwanath Mahadeshwar, will be the new mayor of Mumbai, after he was sworn in on Wednesday, two weeks after the Sena won elections to the BMC

FP Staff March 08, 2017 14:47:38 IST
Vishwanath Mahadeshwar is new Mumbai mayor: All you need to know about the ex-college principal

Shiv Sena legislator and three-time corporator from Santacruz, Vishwanath Mahadeshwar, will be the new mayor of Mumbai, after he was sworn in on Wednesday, two weeks after the Sena won elections to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the country's richest civic body.

Vishwanath Mahadeshwar is new Mumbai mayor All you need to know about the excollege principal

BMC headquarters. Image courtesy: Wikimedia commons

Mahadeshwar filed his nomination papers on Tuesday. A report in city-based tabloid Mid-Day said he is one of the most educated corporators in the civic body. "A Ramnarain Ruia College graduate, he was previously principal of Raje Sambhaji Vidyalaya and Junior College in Santacruz. Mahadeshwar said he would focus on ridding the city of potholes and encroachments, and address water shortage," the report said.

Hemangi Worlikar of the Shiv Sena filed her nomination for the deputy mayor's post.

The mayoral election was expected to be a tight contest between Shiv Sena and BJP, as the two parties finished neck and neck in the recently concluded BMC polls. Sena emerged the single largest party, with 84 seats, while BJP followed a close second with 82. However, with the two parties unable to see eye-to-eye on a post-poll alliance, amid speculation and backdoor negotiations, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis surprised everybody with a startling announcement on Saturday, saying his party will stay away from the mayor race.

As reported earlier, Fadnavis had said his party will not be in the Opposition, but will support the Sena and will be committed to their poll promise of maintaining transparent governance in the BMC, for which the Maharashtra government will appoint a deputy Lokayukta. Also, a three-member coordination committee will be set up which will submit its report in three months on how to bring transparency in the BMC, he said.

So when a show of hands was conducted in the civic body on Wednesday to elect the new mayor, Mahadeshwar emerged victorious with the only competition coming from Congress' Vitthal Lokare. According to a report in The Indian Express, incumbent mayor Snehal Ambekar conducted the election. Far before the results were announced, it became evident, and Sena workers had begun bursting crackers outside the BMC headquarters, the report said.

In fact, the only roadblock Mahadeshwar faced came in the form of a case slapped against him by Congress' Suryavansh Thakur who lost to Mahadeshwar in 2007.

According to a report in Hindustan Times, Mahadeshwar contested the 2007 election from an OBC ward in Santacruz claiming to be from the Vaishyawani caste. However, the Konkan Divisional Caste Scrutiny Committee said it was unable to establish that he was actually from the said caste, and that the oldest documents that had probative value at best showed that Mahadeshwar was from the Wani caste, which is not included in the list notified by the government as OBC. Thakur slapped a case against him, even as Mahadeshwar challenged the committee's decision.

In 2010, the Bombay High Court upheld the committee's decision, saying Mahadeshwar failed to prove his caste as Vaishyawani. "Yes, I was disqualified, but it was more about a problem with the way the state government had included the Vaishyawani caste in OBC. The court noted that the government did not follow the proper procedure, while declaring the caste as OBC and struck down the government resolution," Mahadeshwar was quoted as saying in the Hindustan Times report.

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