Despite being the senior partner in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) ruling coalition, the civic body’s budget, presented on Wednesday, has virtually left the Shiv Sena dumbstruck. Most of its proposals find no mention in the budget, and even the grand memorial plan for the Sena supremo late Bal Thackeray has been left out with no fund allocation.While the budget outlay rose by over 10% from last year – to cross the Rs 37,000 crore mark – none of the Sena’s pet schemes and projects have found any mention in the budget, presented by BMC chief Ajoy Mehta. No funds have been allocated for Sena president Uddhav Thackeray’s dream project, of converting the Mahalaxmi Race Course into a mega theme park, either.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the other hand, all BJP-backed projects, initiated by its governments at the Centre and state, have received a budgetary push. Schemes like Smart City, Swacch Bharat-Swacch Mumbai, Beti Padhao-Beti Bachao, LED street lighting, community toilets and Digital India feature prominently in the budget and have received hefty fund allocation. With 75 corporators, Sena is the single largest party in the BMC while the BJP has only 30 corporators. Both mayor Snehal Ambekar and standing committee chairman Yashodhar Phanse are from the Sena.”We welcome the budget whole-heartedly and congratulate municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta. It’s a budget for the common man. We are ruling at the Centre and the state, and now we are ruling the BMC too. The budget will ensure a better city and facilities for the people. All our demands have been accommodated,” said Manoj Kotak, BJP group leader in the BMC.Interestingly, only two Sena schemes of developing virtual classrooms and distribution of educational tablets to BMC school students feature in the budget. However, the budget allocation for these schemes too has been cut drastically. Neither of the two schemes have got any fillip through the budget.Many of the Sena’s key poll promises, which were part of its 2012 election manifesto, have remained on paper. Housing Humboldt penguins in the Byculla zoo, establishing a municipal cricket academy, installing a Mumbairatna award, constructing a Marathi Bhasha Bhavan, a snow park, laser show at Powai lake, a new BEST museum and a jungle gym among others found no mention in the budget. Even funds for the revamp of the Byculla zoo, which Sena promised in the run-up to last civic body election, have been trimmed to just over Rs 100 crore, from Rs 150 crore allocated earlier.Political observers said that snubbing the Sena was politically significant since this was the last budget before the BMC is going to polls in February next year.Mehta allocated Rs 10 crore for the Smart City project, Rs 10 lakh for LED street lighting and Rs 75 crore for constructing community toilets among other flagship BJP projects. The Swacch Mumbai Prabodhan Abhiyan is the only Sena project that has got a significant budgetary allocation of Rs 80.89 crore.The Sena, however, put up a brave front on the issue of Thackeray memorial. “Rs 1 crore has been set aside last year. Since the exact details of the memorial have not been worked out, it hasn’t been mentioned afresh. The budgetary provision from last year will be carried forward,” said Yashodhar Phanse, Sena leader and chairman of the civic Standing Committee.Phanse also welcomed the budget, terming it a good one. “The land for the Mahalaxmi Race Course has not been handed over to us. So there is no question of demanding any funds to develop it into a garden,” he added.Mehta clarified that the BMC would look into Thackeray memorial plans. “The process has begun for the grand memorial. Once the trust is formed, a decision will be taken on who will build the memorial, the trust or the BMC,” Mehta said.Political observers said that the budget had come as a setback for the Shiv Sena. “This is a clear BJP budget. There is a BJP tinge all over it. All their schemes feature prominently. This shows that the Sena is fast loosing control of the BMC. In the crucial election year, they have nothing to show while the BJP has walked away smiling,” said a political observer.

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