[Newly elected Bhiwandi Mayor Javed Dalvi (centre) with his supporters after filing nomination papers.]
Bhiwandi: The Congress exposed its dubious record of secularism and anti-woman representation stand once again when its corporators voted against Bhartiya Janata Party's Shahin Farhan Siddiqui and in favour of Shiv Sena's Manoj Motiram Katekar in the Bhiwandi Deputy Mayor election held on Friday afternoon.
The Congress has the strength of 47 members in the 90-member Bhiwandi Nizampur City Municipal Corporation (BNCMC) and hence easily sailed through and won the Mayor election with its candidate Javed Dalvi defeating BJP's Prakash Tawre.
But, it is the election of Deputy Mayor which is raising eyebrows in the city.
The Congress had fielded Prashant Laad as the party's candidate for the post of Deputy Mayor. The BJP had fielded its only Muslim Corporator Shahin Farhan Siddiquie for the post whereas Manoj Motiram was the Shiv Sena's candidate.
After scrutiny of the papers, the presiding officer rejected Congress candidate Prashant Laad's nomination and hence the Bhiwandi Deputy Mayor election was held between BJP's Shahin Farhan Siddiqui and Sena's Manoj Motiram Katekar.
As the voting for the Deputy Mayor election began, the Congress members rushed to vote for the Shiv Sena candidate, ensuring the defeat of BJP's only Muslim corporator in the house.
Interestingly, those who voted against the BJP's Muslim woman corporator Shahin Siddiqui included 43 Muslim corporators of the Congress.
The Congress party won majority of seats in the May 24 Bhiwandi Municipal Corporation election for the first time and it was believed that the party will have its mayor and deputy mayor in the corporation. The Deputy Mayor election has however stunned many in the city.
"The Congress party must explain on what ground its corporators voted against Shahin Siddiqui? If the reason is BJP's communal politics, then what is the justification in backing the Shiv Sena?", Dilshad Azmi, a weaver, said.
"Moreover, it should also be probed how Congress candidate Prashant Laad's papers had mistakes", he added.
Others who kept a watch on the entire election process believed that the Congress feared its corporators could be lured by the BJP hence it decided to rope in the Shiv Sena to its side.
"Whatever happened in the house on Friday is not good. Its a mockery of democracy", Qutbuddin Shahid, a journalist, said while talking to ummid.com.
"It appears to be a pre-decided and well-planned strategy that the nomination papers of Prashant Laad will be rejected minutes before the voting and the Congress corporators will pave the way for the victory of the Shiv Sena candidate", he added.