|Sanjeev Vijayvargiya (top) & Manoj Kumar
Deputy mayor of Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) Sanjeev Vijayvargiya on Sunday termed the impending no-confidence motion against him “a conspiracy” hatched by the civic body’s chief executive officer (CEO) Manoj Kumar to settle old scores on a day three of the 20 councillors, who decided to move the trust vote, apparently did a volte face.
According to rules, a no-confidence motion against an RMC mandarin has to be tabled by at least 19 of the total 55 ward councillors. After Sunday’s number juggle, the anti-Vijayvargiya group is short by two councillors.
Mayor Asha Lakra said that whether her deputy could be put to vote test at all would be decided after watching the councillor count on August 23 in the run-up to which more permutations and combinations are expected.
If Vijayvargiya faces the trust vote in real, it would be the first of its kind event in the history of RMC.
Livid at attempts for his ouster from the civic body, the deputy mayor squarely blamed CEO Kumar for conspiring against him and also for every failure the RMC has encountered in recent times.
“Majority (of councillors) is on my side and I will crash their plans. The CEO is running a coterie of councillors. They want me to give preference to certain wards. I have blocked many of their personal agenda. A no-confidence motion is a deliberate attempt to deter me from my righteous path,” the deputy mayor said.
Vijayvargiya and Kumar have never really been on the same page as far as running the RMC is concerned.
In 2013, the RMC board had cleared a proposal for 300 hand pumps, at least five in every ward. The deputy mayor — then the de facto head in the absence of a mayor — was authorised to make recommendations for a maximum of 25 hand pumps in a ward based on public requirements. Vijayvargiya recommended 15 hand pumps in some wards, but Kumar allegedly scuttled the plan.
The same year, the urban development department had released a fund of Rs 7 crore for construction of culverts and drains in Ranchi. The RMC board authorised the deputy mayor to make recommendations of Rs 67 lakh for different wards. Vijayvargiya has claimed the CEO opposed his proposals.
In the past, he had even publicly criticised Kumar for floating two tenders worth Rs 34 lakh without prior approval of the RMC board.
Close aides said some BJP leaders were working behind the curtain as Vijayvargiya is understood to have shown interest in contesting the Assembly elections from Hatia.
The deputy mayor also seems to be controlling the numbers game so far.
The trio who reportedly signed the no-confidence notice — Vijay Tirkey (ward 14), Saroj Gadi (ward 9) and Kumari Margaret (ward 51) — have withdrawn their names.
“I was not aware that my signature was being taken for this purpose. I am not a part of this move,” Tirkey told The Telegraph on Sunday.
Mayor Lakra reiterated that rules said a no-confidence motion could be brought against a deputy mayor after he completed a year in office and for which a proposal by at least 19 councillors was required.
“In the past three days, 34 councillors have submitted their written support to Vijayvargiya. On August 23, the matter will be taken up. We shall see if motion holds water at all,” she said.
If the trust vote happens, Vijayvargiya will need a simple majority to win.