A day after Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray announced the decision to end alliance with BJP, rival Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam said that their party stands to benefit from the breakdown in the upcoming civic polls, including Mumbai.
The Congress’ Mumbai unit chief Sanjay Nirupam said his party stood to gain from the “snapping of ties between the two parties for the civic polls” and dared the Sena to withdraw support to the BJP-led governments at the state and Centre.
While BJP is the ruling party in the Centre and in Maharashtra, Sena is the senior alliance partner in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, where the parties have been in power for over two decades.
“Unless they do this, contesting against each other and criticising each other will look fake. Both the parties are responsible for the deterioration of Mumbai as they have been in power in the civic body for more than two decades. Mumbaikars are plagued by a shortage of basic amenities,” he said.
Reacting to Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s announcement of going solo for the elections to 10 municipal corporations, Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan alleged that the saffron allies were ‘addicted to power’.
“If they keep fighting with each other, how will they solve the people’s issues. People know that Congress is a better choice. Whether they contest in alliance or separately, it is immaterial to us,” he said.
Thackeray announced his decision to contest alone while addressing a gathering of party workers and leaders at Goregaon on Thursday.
“I have not received any call from any senior leader in BJP. Shiv Sena is 50 years old; however, the 25 years of our time in alliance is rotten one. We always hailed you (BJP) on Hindutva issue. However, Sena is not born for the sake of power. Whoever tries to underestimate Sena, we will ensure they will be uprooted,” Thackeray said.
“I will not go to anybody with a begging bowl for alliance and will not be at anybody’s mercy. I have decided there will be no alliance for any of the coming municipal corporation or zilla parishad polls…We will unfurl the bhagva (saffron) flag in Maharashtra all alone,” he added.
The alliance talks between the parties fell through after an alleged disagreement over seat-sharing, where BJP wanted to contest for 114 out of the total 227 seats, whereas the Sena wanted to offer only 60.
Reacting to the development, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the change will happen in state irrespective of whoever comes along with BJP.
The party’s state unit president, meanwhile, asserted that state government will complete its full term.
Elections to 10 municipal corporations, including Mumbai, will be held on February 21 and for 25 zilla parishads and 283 panchayat samitis, the polls will be held in two phases, on February 16 and 21.