Opening of BJP minister's office in Mumbai civic body HQ draws sharp opposition response

Mumbai suburban Guardian Minister Mangal Prabhat Lodha, also a prominent builder, has been accused of using the civic body to favour the construction lobby

BJP minister Mangal Prabhat Lodha at the BMC headquarters in Mumbai on Friday (Photo courtesy: Twitter/@MPLodha)
BJP minister Mangal Prabhat Lodha at the BMC headquarters in Mumbai on Friday (Photo courtesy: Twitter/@MPLodha)

NH Digital

For the first time in the 134-year history of the Brihanamumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), office space has been allotted within its headquarters for the Guardian Minister Mangal Prabhat Lodha, attracting sharp criticism from various quarters. The family of Lodha, the guardian minister for the suburban Mumbai district, runs the Lodha Group, a real estate major in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.

The BMC opposition strongly condemned the administration's choice.

Former minister and current Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Aaditya Thackeray has claimed that the developers have been given offices in the BMC. Aaditya Thackeray lashed out at the BMC, saying things like, "The BMC, and the civic body's headquarters will probably be renamed as 'Casa BMC' sounding like a builder's advertisement."

Since the Corporators' March 2022 term ended, the BMC has been without democratically elected officials. Commissioner Iqbal Chahal, who is also the BMC's chief executive officer, is in charge of the organisation, he said.

Also criticising the BMC on Twitter was Preeti Sharma Menon, leader of the Aam Aadmi Party in Mumbai. The BJP is a party for and of builders. She tweeted, "Mumbai's protector minister and top builder Lodha currently has no locus in BMC, so there are no party offices, except for of course Mr Lodha's to facilitate the loot of Mumbai's real estate."

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Jayant Patil addressed the issue in the Maharashtra state assembly, saying that the administration should issue proper instructions to ministers and refrain from setting incorrect examples.

The Lodha Group was founded in 1980 by Mangal Prabhat Lodha, and the company has over the years been responsible for developing numerous residential and commercial projects, shaping the skyline of Mumbai and other cities the MMR. Their portfolio includes luxury apartments, townships, office spaces, and mixed-use developments, catering to a wide range of clients with diverse needs and preferences.

Reports indicate that Lodha has been given space on the BMC's second level. Iqbal Singh Chahal, the city's commissioner, also maintains an office there.

On Friday, Lodha visited the city's administrative centre, where he was greeted by BMC corporators who, since the closure of their party offices the previous year, have been living in makeshift quarters. The workplace was evacuated after a fight broke out between rival Sena groups.

Lodha has stated that he requested an office at the BMC headquarters to interact with individuals and listen to their concerns.

According to Lodha, "Our government goes among the people to accomplish its work and not on social media. I'm going to take a seat here, listen to the people's complaints, and then provide solutions.

Moreover, "I visited various areas of Mumbai's suburbs through the government initiate, Shasan Aplya Dari (government at your doorstep), and then realised that many problems were about the BMC," he said.

Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Google News, Instagram 

Join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines