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BMC polls, final decision after ‘discussions’ with CM: Uddhav

As the deadlock with BJP over seat sharing for the upcoming Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) poll continues, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray today said a final decision will be taken after “discussions” with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

“Discussions are still going on. Exact proposal is yet to be received. Once we (Uddhav Thackeray and Devendra Fadnavis) get the proposals from our leaders, we will decide on how to go ahead with it. There is no communication yet from the BJP leadership,” Uddhav told reporters here when asked about the fate of alliance between the two.

Uddhav, however, made a sarcastic remark when reporters persisted with the query on possibility of forging a front with BJP as the “deadline” set by the two parties to clinch a deal has ended.

“One must know that there have been many deadlines after the decision of demonetisation,” he said on wrapping up the alliance talks for the February 21 polls.

As he parried alliance queries, the Sena chief unveiled sops that his party would implement it if it secures a mandate in civic bodies in Mumbai, Thane and Ulhasnagar.

This is the second time in four days that Uddhav has held a press conference to unveil Sena’s agenda for civic polls. It has been controlling the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for nearly two decades.

Uddhav said the promises made by Sena are being highly appreciated by citizens especially women. “I have been told that Shiv Sena’s promises (waiver of property tax for small tenements) will come as a relief for many Mumbaikars.”

He said if Sena gets re-elected in BMC, they would allow free travel in BEST buses to students in uniforms.

“We will implement it once we get re-elected. We will also provide health care facility to BEST employees,” Uddhav Thackeray said.

The Sena chief was accompanied by senior leader from Thane Eknath Shinde, who also made several promises, like developing a central park, a sports complex and construction of a dam only to cater to the water requirements of Thane Municipal Corporation, if the party wins the civic polls in the district adjoining Mumbai.

“Central park will come up on 30 acre land near Kolshet, while sports complex will be developed near Ghodbunder road, if we get re-elected in Thane,” Shinde said.

Thackeray also promised to replicate the property tax waiver offered in BMC, in Thane and Ulhasnagar municipal corporations.

Invoking the late Balasaheb Thackeray in his emotional appeal to Thane residents, Uddhav said, “Residents of Thane have been supporting Shiv Sena for a long time. Many people are aware that during last municipal corporation election, Balasaheb addressed only two rallies of which one was in the city. Shiv Sena has an attachment with Thane and I am indebted to support from Thanekars for last few decades.”

“We will soon release our election manifesto (vachan-nama),” Uddhav said.

PWD minister Eknath Shinde said, “Thane, Kalyan-Dombivali and Mira Bhayandar face severe traffic jams. To solve it, Thane civic body will initiate and try to create a common facility of sea-link for commuters to travel. This will reduce load on roads.”

On the redevelopment proposal of Kharegaon chowpatty which is pending, Shinde said, “We are planning to redevelop it on the lines of Singapore with several international level facilities.”

For Thane and Ulhasnagar municipal corporations, Uddhav said, “Those who have homes with a size between 500 sq ft to 700 sq ft, they will get some relief in property tax. People with more than 700 sq ft flat size will also get some relief, provided they implement some of corporation’s projects. Similar policy will be introduced in Ulhasnagar municipal corporation as well.”

The Sena chief also took a dig at BJP’s claim that they too have made similar announcements as made by him, Uddhav said, “It may be my ignorance. And if it is my ignorance (towards these announcements) then I deserve to be excused.”

“Whatever announcements I have made earlier, my party has fulfilled it. We had launched a campaign called “We did it” during the previous BMC election and now we have embarked upon “Did you know” campaign,” he said.

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