Even though the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) election is still two years away, it has been brought to the centre stage by the Maha Vikas Aghadi partners and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The three allies will have to start fresh in reaching out to their respective vote banks. On the other hand, BJP will be making all efforts to wrest power from Shiv Sena and has already declared that it will emerge as the single largest party in the civic body.
The ruling Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress have reiterated that they will together contest the BMC polls. BJP, though, wants to go solo and has kept an option of aligning with the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). Interestingly, NCP and Congress have relented and said that Shiv Sena will continue to be the big brother after the elections. BJP launched Mission BMC last week with a resolve to end the domination of its estranged ally.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and his son Aaditya Thackeray, who is the Tourism and Environment Minister, have separately launched interactions with the vibhag and shakha pramukh in order to gear up the party organisations ahead of the ensuing elections. He has asked the cadre to start taking up issues that concern the common man and work closely with the government and the BMC administration to get these resolved.
Thackeray asked them to focus on the seats that Shiv Sena candidates did not win or the seats that were lost by a slim margin. It is expected that, in view of the party-led government in the state, the Shiv Sena, which is ruling BMC, expects to keep the ongoing development projects on fast track.
Shiv Sena Member of the Parliament (MP) Sanjay Raut ridiculed BJP’s call to unfurl the saffron flag at BMC ,saying that nobody can bring down Shivraya’s saffron from the civic body. He claimed that BJP has interest in BMC, because it has interest in Mumbai, its financial business and share market.
On the other hand, a section of Congress, including Leader of Opposition Ravi Raja and former Mumbai unit chief Sanjay Nirupam, have been pressing for fighting the civic polls independently. However, they were snubbed by senior leaders, including state unit chief Balasaheb Thorat and executive president of Mumbai unit Eknath Gaikwad, who said the party will join hands with Shiv Sena.
In case of NCP, the party expects to spread its wings by aligning with Shiv Sena in the coming polls. Party spokesman Nawab Malik has already announced NCP will jointly contest the BMC elections with Shiv Sena, as it hopes to improve its tally, which will benefit it in the next assembly elections.
However, BJP has taken the coming BMC elections quite seriously. It has appointed party legislator Atul Bhatkhalkar in charge for poll management. Former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who unveiled Mission Mumbai 2022 with a resolve to install a BJP mayor, already declared that the party will win more than 114 seats to cross a halfway mark.
BJP proposes to increase its presence in Shiv Sena’s Marathi vote bank and simultaneously consolidate its position among North Indian and Gujarati voters.
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