The bickering in the Congress came to the fore on Friday during the election to the post of the chairman of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) standing committee.
Yashodhar Phanase, the Shiv Sena corporator from Andheri, emerged the winner against Congress' Bhomsingh Rathod in the election. Phanase's victory was expected given the majority the Shiv Sena-BJP combine enjoys in the civic body. The election was, however, marred by row over the absence of former opposition leader and Congress' Mahim corporator Dhyanraj Nikam.
"Even if Nikam had turned up, the result would not have gone in our favour. But the party had issued a whip, and it was mandatory that all members showed up," a senior Congress leader in the BMC said.
Rathod, in the meanwhile, has taken up the matter with Janardan Chandurkar, the Congress Mumbai unit chief. In a letter to Chandurkar, He has demanded stern action against Nikam.
"Nikam has not attended any civic meeting ever since he was replaced as the opposition leader. Action is taken against a corporator if he works against party interest, so Nikam has to be punished," Rathod said.
The Congress replaced Nikam as the opposition leader last October.
In response to Rathod's complaint, Chandurkar hinted that the party might replace Nikam as member of the standing committee if he was found to be at fault. "Nikam had informed me that he was ill. I will find out if that is true. But any action will be taken only after we take stock of the situation," Chandurkar added.
Nikam, meanwhile, claimed he had not been keeping well for sometime now. "I am feeling weak these days. Last year, I underwent a weight loss surgery. However, I contracted infection, resulting in health problems. On Friday too I had gone for a medical check-up. I will submit the medical certificate to party heads in this connection," Nikam told dna.
Phanase – 15; Rathod – 7
The standing committee has 27 members. Of these, 22 took part in the poll on Friday. Besides Nikam, 3 MNS corporators and one Samajwadi Party (SP) member did not turn up for voting.