Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today assured that his government would take steps to give more powers to the chairpersons of the municipal councils to reduce the possible friction between the directly-elected chairpersons and the elected representatives. Ruling BJP has emerged as a major gainer in the first phase of municipal council polls in Maharashtra. Of the 147 municipal councils, where municipal chiefs were elected directly, BJP nominees won at 51 places. "It is true that BJP has won at 51 councils chairpersons' post, but we do not have majority in all these councils. Anticipating some confrontation between the chairpersons and the elected members of the council, who are from other political parties, the state would like to empower the chairpersons with additional rights so that they can function," Fadnavis told reporters here. Ahead of the elections, the BJP had changed the rules and decided that chairpersons will be elected directly from all the voters in the council. Although, this decision has paid significantly for the party, for the day-to-day functioning of the councils, it is likely to create hurdles as the chairperson and other elected members from non-BJP parties would be mostly at loggerheads. Talking about the issue, spokesperson of state unit of Congress Sachin Sawant alleged, "The BJP is trying to change our parliamentary democracy to presidential democracy." "I think in 1975 and 2001, similar decisions (of direct election of chairpersons) were taken, but it only created chaotic situation and the councils could not function properly.
Those decisions were subsequently withdrawn and assurance was given to people that parliamentary democracy will be followed. Despite that, the current BJP dispensation is playing with democracy," Sawant said.
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