What good are the smooth, wide roads of the planned city of Navi Mumbai, if you don’t have a flashy set of wheels to drive on them, or so corporators of the satellite city think. Quite a few flamboyant elected representatives drive high-end cars, with some of them owning as many as half a dozen expensive automobiles.
Leading the pack is NCP corporator from Airoli, Manohar Krushna Madhvi, who is the proud owner of a Rs60-lakh Audi Q5 and has just booked a Rs1-crore BMW X6. Not to mention a humble Fortuner, Scorpio and few others vehicles that sit in his Gothivali garage. “I have been in the construction business since 1982 and have a good credit rating, so banks are more than keen to give me loans to buy these cars,” said Madhvi, adding that his son, who is studying engineering, and his corporator wife Vinaya are also engaged in business and some of the cars are in their names.
“While banks think twice before giving loans to politicians, they are happy to lend money to me because of my good track record,” said Madhvi. Of course, the official allowances that Madhvi gets from the municipal corporation add up to less than Rs10,000 per month.
Living in the same Airoli neighbourhood is another politician, Navi Mumbai’s Sena chief Vijay Chauguley, who has a Rs1.4-crore Porsche Panamera in his garage, besides a Toyota Land Cruiser and a Fortuner. “We have taken loans to purchase these vehicles and we are regularly paying the installments. My son is in the business of building material supplies and has ready-mix cement plants,” said Chauguley.
Former Navi Mumbai district Congress chief, Cidco board director and corporator Namdeo Bhagat, whose family owns a BMW, a Honda CRV and a Swift, talks about living frugally. “I travel in a Swift and have stopped using high-end cars because of their high fuel consumption. Since I stopped using the CRV I am able to save Rs800 daily on petrol and I use the monthly saving of Rs24,000 to do social service like feeding the poor.”
As far as the BMW is concerned, his son zips around the satellite city when he isn’t cruising around in his Rs20 lakh Suzuki Hayabusa. “Others should follow my ideal of not using high-end cars and move about in a simple car,” says the politician.
Shiv Sena corporator from Agroli Gaon Saroj Patil’s husband Rohidas Patil explained the Rs1.03-crore Jaguar in his unique way. “The Jagaur that we drive in the city is actually my brother’s.
We are not the owners of this vehicle.”
Meanwhile, Vashi corporator Kishore Patkar, who owns a Mercedes E-Class and a Fortuner, booked an Audi A6 earlier this week as a birthday gift for his wife. “My kids always wanted me to purchase these cars because they like them, and since I can afford them I have purchased these cars. Besides, all the cars have been bought with car loans. I have been regularly filing income tax returns and my business turnover is quite healthy,” said Patkar.
Nerul corporator, Netra Shirke, who owns a BMW, a Pajero and a Fortuner, said, “We have a string of businesses and the banks extend loans, looking at our economic profile and repaying capacity.”
Some NCP corporators could go for cars worth even Rs2 crore.
But they avoid doing that for fear of antagonising their boss, guardian minister Ganesh Naik whose chosen mode of transport is a Rs1.5-crore Range Rover
His MP son Sanjeev Naik has a Volvo SUV and his MLA son Sandeep Naik is driven around in a Land Cruiser Prado.