Visitors to Powai can take their pick from three politically-flavoured vada pav stalls started by the Shiv Sena, Congress and the Swabhiman Sanghatna. The humble vada pav suddenly has plenty of political suitors.
Both the Nitesh Rane-led Swabhiman Sanghatna and the Congress under MLA Naseem Khan have jumped onto the vada pav bandwagon hitherto monopolised by the Shiv Sena. And the result is that visitors to Powai can now choose between the Sena vada pav, the Chhatrapati vada pav sold in a stall right next to it, and the Apang Rozgar vada pav promoted by Khan. Interestingly, however, all three stalls are illegal.
After Sena executive chief Uddhav Thackeray inaugurated the Shiv vada pav centre at the Powai Nisarga Udyan on June 29, Congress leader Narayan Rane’s younger son Nitesh made it a point to open a Chhatrapati vada pav stall right next to it. Visitors to Powai can take their pick from three politically-flavoured vada pav stalls started by the Shiv Sena, Congress and the Swabhiman Sanghatna.
Meanwhile, after inaugurating the Chhatrapati Vada Pav Centre, which does not have a BMC licence, Nitesh Rane lambasted the Sena over its illegal Shiv Vada Pav stall at the Nisarg Udyan.
“The BMC administration doesn’t have the authority to permit any such stalls in the absence of rules. The Sena’s Vada Pav stalls violate rules and, after the Supreme Court verdict banning cooking on city streets, the stalls were not approved by the BMC Standing Committee. If the BMC plans to demolish our illegal stalls, they will have to first demolish all the vada pav stalls sponsored by the Sena,” said Rane
He also announced the opening of many more Vada Pav stalls across the city under his organisation’s aegis.It will now be interesting to see what action the BMC takes against the stalls run by all three parties.
The civic body warned it would remove all illegal stalls across the city including the Shiv Vada Pav stalls set up by the Shiv Sena. “We will not discriminate against anyone and action will be taken against anyone who does not have the requisite licences,” said Chandrashekhar Rokade, deputy municipal commissioner.
Nitesh Rane, son of state industries minister Narayan Rane, is one of the bitterest rivals of the Sena ever since his father quit the saffron outfit. While inaugurating the Powai centre, Nitesh announced that he would start a chain of stalls across the city and warned the BMC against selective targeting of his outlets.
However, the Sena persists that its stalls are legal. “We have the sanction of the civic body and if Swabhimaan wants they should apply for a licence, instead of arguing with us,” said Ravindra Waikar, Sena legislator and former chairman, BMC Standing Committee.
NGOs have jumped into the fray demanding action against all illegal stalls. “There will be total chaos if everyone sets up illegal stalls across the city in the name of providing employment,” said Neera Punj, convener, CITISPACE, the NGO working for open spaces.
Pictures Coutsey: Midday