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BMC Roundup: Sena, BJP will have to partner in Mumbai as Congress refuses to play kingmaker

BMC Roundup: Sena, BJP will have to partner in Mumbai as Congress refuses to play kingmaker
BMC Roundup: Sena, BJP will have to partner in Mumbai as Congress refuses to play kingmaker

Devendra Fadnavis and Uddhav Thackeray might have no option but to partner in Mumbai. Picture Courtesy: IBN Lokmat

A day after the BMC elections threw up a fractured verdict, Congress has said that it will not help the ruling allies gain control of the cash-rich civic body, leaving Shiv Sena and BJP little option but to continue their two-decade old alliance.

Congress refuses to play kingmaker, won’t help BJP or Sena

Although BJP and Sena ended with over 80 seats each, both fell short of 114-mark required to win a clear majority. Congress, meanwhile, came third and with a tally of 31 seats, is in a unique position of helping either BJP or Sena secure a majority.

However, Congress city unit chief Sanjay Nirupam has ruled out helping either party.

“We will not dilute our ideological stand. People defeated us and gave us a mandate to sit in the opposition. We respect that. But voters have not given the saffron parties, who fought a bitter battle, the keys to power. Congress will not help these two parties, but would like to see their fight continue and differences aggravate,” Nirupam told PTI.

On Thursday, Nirupam even offered to resign from the party for their dismal performance in the BMC polls. Congress’ tally dropped from 75 seats in 2012 to 31 in 2017.

BJP Minister Nitin Gadkari says alliance inevitable

Nitin Gadkari today said there is “no option” for his party and Shiv Sena than joining hands for control of the Mumbai civic body.

“The situation now is that both parties have no option but to come together again,” Gadkari said. “The final decision on this issue has to be taken by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray. Both are mature and I am sure they will take the right decision,” he said.

“I feel leaders of both parties have to take a decision, showing sujh bujh (understanding) and maturity,” Gadkari told a Marathi TV channel.

Uddhav silent on alliance

When contacted by a leading news channel, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray refused to talk about alliance or the party’s candidate for the mayor’s post.

“We are celebrating today. I have not thought of anything right now,” Thackeray said from Matoshree in Mumbai, adding that “discussions are on.”

He did not reveal with whom the party was discussing alliance.

Sena goes soft on rebels, welcomes three independents to increase tally to 87 seats

Sena might have ended the BMC polls with a tally of 84 seats, but it took them less than a day to increase their tally to 87.

On Friday, Thackeray first welcomed independent corporators Snehal More from Vikhroli (ward 123) and Tulsidas Shinde (ward 41) from Dindoshi back into the fold.

Before the polls, both had protested for not being given tickets and fought Sena’s nominees from their respective wards. At the time, Thackeray had asked rebel leaders to withdraw from the elections or face party’s backlash.

But, with their victories secured and BJP breathing down its neck in Mumbai, the party changed its stance and welcomed the winning corporators back into Sena.

Thackeray also welcomed independent corporator Changez Jamal Multani (ward 62) from Andheri to Sena.

Hurdles for Sena-BJP alliance

A day after the verdict, the Sena, in an editorial in party mouthpiece ‘Saamna’ claimed that BJP used the entire state machinery and all its might of Central leadership to secure unprecedented results in the BMC and other local body polls.

According to Gadkari, Sena’s repeated attacks on PM Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah in its mouthpiece will have to stop for an alliance to be forged.

“If there has to be a friendship with us (BJP), then there has to be a check on the writings in Saamana. How will there be friendship when Saamna, on a daily basis, writes insulting things about the PM and our party president?” he said.

“I feel that had these things been avoided, there would not have been so much bitterness between BJP and Sena,” Gadkari said. Shiv Sena should take care that relations between the two parties should not deteriorate because of Saamana, he said.

Sena meanwhile has taken a non-negotiable stand on the mayor’s appointment for Mumbai, a point that might become a bone of contention between the two.

“The BJP used all that it had for the BMC polls. But, despite the BJP getting 82 seats, the mayor will be from Shiv Sena only,” the Sena proclaimed and Thackeray resonated.

Maharashtra poll verdict

BJP scored an emphatic win in the Maharashtra civic polls, emerging as the largest party in eight of the 10 municipal corporations, while finishing a close second to Shiv Sena in BMC elections.

The BJP improved its 2012 BMC poll performance by leaps and bounds, winning 82 seats, just two less than Sena. Both the parties are short of the magic figure of 114 needed to control the civic body.

The BJP also led the seat tally in elections to 25 zilla parishads and 283 panchayat samitis in Maharashtra, which have traditionally been strongholds of Congress and NCP.

Related: Complete details on how each party fared in the BMC polls


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