Even as the BJP and Shiv Sena have indicated that they may have an alliance for the civic polls, including for the BMC, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray too has said that he will welcome a pact with a party that approaches him and suits his outfit.
With the state election commission expected to declare the BMC and 10 other civic elections in a day or two, the BJP and the Sena are likely to start parleys very soon. The initiative comes from the BJP which decided Monday night to explore the possibility of a pact. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis asked his party leaders to think positively about sealing a pact with the Sena not only in the civic polls but also in the 26 ZP elections. However, the final outcome would depend on how the two parties agree on a seat-sharing formula in various cities and districts.
The parties may find an amicable solution in the ZPs, but sources said the task would be too difficult in Mumbai because of its complexity. In Mumbai, the BJP is not ready to give an inch to the Sena because it has more MLAs than the Sena. But the Sena too claims to have a better strength citing its major hold in the existing BMC house. The Sena says that the BJP’s demand for half share in 227 BMC seats is unacceptable.
Sensing the mood in the BJP camp, the Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said on Tuesday that the BJP should decide before the elections are held. It was clear indication that his party is adamant on its stand, and may not just cave in on a turf in Mumbai where it is in a strong position. Sources said the Sena wants an alliance in all places or else it will go solo.
The Sena has been ruling the city for about 25 years with the BJP as a small partner. But the power equation changed in the 2014 Assembly polls in which the BJP, with 15 MLAs, emerged as the single largest party in the city. The Sena won one short of the BJP’s tally. This has led to the BJP’s demand for half share in 227 BMC seats. The Sena does not agree with the BJP’s demand because it has 89 corporators (75 of its own plus including supporters) in the BMC, while the BJP has just 31. It wants party-wise strength in the BMC to be used as the main parameter for seat-sharing.
On the other hand, the BJP wants their candidates to win from the Assembly segments from where they have sitting MLAs. The sharing will become trickier because the Sena will not vacate its claim on seats of sitting corporators.
Choice of seats
A senior minister who attended Monday night’s meeting with the CM said that the issue is far more serious, especially in Mumbai. “Our party leaders do not want to step down from the demand for half share. And they want seats of their choice which the Sena will not concede at all,” he said, adding that the seat-sharing in the cities where the BJP is in minority would be smoother, as his party does not want to cross swords with the Sena.
And even as the Sena and BJP appear to be on talking terms, a deflated MNS chief said on Tuesday that he would forge an alliance with the party which gives a suitable proposition. The MNS has 28 sitting corporators in the BMC and this time it is unlikely to repeat a good show.
Source – ledeindia.com