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2-min read

Turf War Between Srinagar Mayor, J&K Traffic Police Chief Plays Out on Twitter After 'Cabbage' Saga

On his first day after assuming Srinagar mayor’s office, Junaid Matoo reignited an old rivalry when he sought to “manage and discipline” traffic in Srinagar city.

Mufti Islah | CNN-News18

Updated:November 9, 2018, 6:30 PM IST
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Turf War Between Srinagar Mayor, J&K Traffic Police Chief Plays Out on Twitter After 'Cabbage' Saga
File photo of Srinagar mayor Junaid Azim Mattoo. (Image: Twitter)
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Srinagar: A virtual crossing of swords by two “men of repute” over who has a say in traffic management in Srinagar has elicited a torrent of responses from social media users.

On his first day after assuming Srinagar mayor’s office, Junaid Matoo reignited an old rivalry when he sought to “manage and discipline” traffic in Srinagar city only to be confronted by the temperamental IPS officer Basant Rath, also Jammu and Kashmir traffic chief.

Junaid had defected from National Conference after it decided to boycott the local body polls. He contested as an Independent but political observers believe that he had a tacit understanding with the BJP and Sajjad Lone. After elections, his candidature for the mayoral post was supported by Lone's outfit, People's Conference.

Mattoo, who was recently elected as Mayor of Srinagar, tweeted, saying he spoke to the SP Traffic (Urban) and sought a review of current traffic diversions and plans. He wrote that the Srinagar Municipal Corporation has been directed to help with decongestion of alternate routes for some relief.

Rath confronted him, tweeting back that traffic was “not your domain”. “Traffic diversion was at Jehangir Chowk is a compulsion. The vendors have created a mess … SMC needs to clear the mess.”

A Twitter user wrote to Rath, saying he had to follow the orders, to which he wrote back that he doesn’t.

The spat elicited a strong response on Twitter.

Speaking to News18, Rath said, “A Srinagar mayor has no jurisdiction over traffic management’’. He also quoted Jammu and Kashmir Municipal Act, 2000, saying that traffic did not come under the domain of the mayor.

“He should desist from taking me on. I have a better fan following than him. My constituency is bigger than him,’’ he said, suggesting only few hundred people had cast votes for him in the recent municipal polls.

News 18 also tried to get in touch with Matoo but he was unwilling to comment. “No quotes," he said.

This is not the first time the two have been locked in a spat. On Tuesday, when Matoo won the mayoral position, he, in reply to a question by mediapersons said McDonalds was more important than Kashmir wetlands. He was apparently talking about bringing changes in Srinagar. Hours later, Rath took to Twitter and called him a ‘cabbage”.

Rath’s antics of trying to take on the high and mighty has made him popular among the youth. In the initial weeks of his joining as state traffic chief, he penalised some “influential” people for traffic violations. Often, he would lead drives to clear encroachments on roads. He is also active on social media, posting selfies every now and then.

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| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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