6 MNS corporators in BMC switch to Sena: Raj faces political extinction, Uddhav consolidates position
Raj Thackeray-led MNS is on the brink of being wiped off from Mumbai’s political landscape after six of its seven corporators in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) defected to rival Shiv Sena on Friday.
Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray termed the development “gharwapsi”, while the BJP called it “horse-trading”.
MNS corporators Archana S Bhalerao, Parmeshwar T Kadam, Ashwini A Matekar, Dattaram S Narvankar, Harshala A More and Dilip B Lande joined the Sena in presence of Uddhav yesterday.
Addressing the media after inducting the corporators in the party, Thackeray, proclaimed that no one should accuse the Sena of poaching the corporators as it was a ‘homecoming’.
He also attacked its ally in the state government, saying, “They (BJP) must have realised our strength now after seeing what can we do in one day”.
The move comes as a major shock to Sena ally, BJP which on Thursday proclaimed that “very soon, a BJP Mayor would rule over the BMC”, after the party bagged the Bhandup ward in the civic by-elections.
Now, the sole MNS corporator left in the BMC is Sanjay R. Turde, whose moves were scuttled at the last minute for some unknown reasons.
Following the development, MNS Spokesperson Sandeep Deshpande said the party has approached the Anti-Corruption Bureau in this regard.
The BJP, stunned with the sudden development, responded by hurling allegations of “horse-trading” and lodging complaints with the Maharashtra State Election Commission, Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau and the Konkan Development Commissioner.
Manoj Kotak, group leader of the BJP in the BMC, termed the induction of MNS corporators in the Shiv Sena as “betrayal of voters”.
Earlier this week, BJP MP Kirit Somaiya had indicated that the party was on the verge of reaching a majority in the civic body and appointing a new Mayor, sending jitters in the Shiv Sena.
According to sources, the Sena burnt the midnight oil to work out its political strategy to avert the possibility of losing its control over the country’s richest municipal body, with Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar playing a key role in weaning away the MNS corporators.
With the recent deflection, the Shiv Sena now has 90 corporators, along with the support of four independents, while the BJP has 82 representatives and two independents in the 227-member BMC.
The MNS, meanwhile, has witnessed a metaphorical fall from grace in recent years.
Apart from losing strongholds like Nashik and Pune, its tally in its home turf (BMC) has also dwindled from 27 in the 2012 elections to 7 in the 2017 polls.