The Shiv Sena thinks Prime Minister Narendra Modi ‘s Smart Cities mission will delink Mumbai from the rest of Maharashtra.
“Under the guise of Smart Cities, a Special Purpose Vehicle Board modelled on a corporate entity is being created to manage Mumbai’s development,” the party mouthpiece Saamana said in an editorial. “Maharashtra’s capital will be turned into a centrally governed colony. It is an attempt to foist a new form of underworld in the form of a parallel government on Mumbai,” it said.
Some of the cities from Maharashtra selected for development as Smart Cities include Mumbai, Thane, Kalyan-Dombivali, Pune, Nashik, Amravati, Solapur, Nashik, Nagpur and Aurangabad.
The paper wrote: “If someone is conspiring to turn Mumbai into a centrally governed territory. then they should go and have a look at the sword Shivaji Maharaj’s statue wields in Shivaji Park. They should have a look at Aurangazeb’s mausoleum and make rounds of the memorial of the 105 martyrs of the Samyukta Maharashtra movement. They will get a sense of what we are talking about.”
The separation of Mumbai from Maharashtra is a politically sensitive issue with parties such as the Shiv Sena claiming that there is a conspiracy for the last three decades to separate Mumbai from Maharashtra.
The Sena has alleged that the Smart Cities project was for capitalists, traders and builders and against native Maharashtrians.
“We cannot let Mumbai become a servant of multinational companies in the name of Smart Cities and let them decide development and taxes. Today power is snatched from people and cities are going to the rich,” the editorial said.
The Sena’s decision to speak out against the project comes amid worsening relations between the Sena and the BJP. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, which the Sena has controlled for over 25 years, will see the next elections in 2017.