The 2022 BMC elections would be very critical because there are several factors that may influence them. Let us assume that in 2022 BJP has a good number of corporators elected. Though BJP will have the highest number it is difficult for them to cross the majority margin, single-handedly. Wherein, Shiv Sena will naturally join hands with INC & NCP and elect their mayor. Also, SS-INC-NCP already has the upper hand as they presently are in power in the state. And with power what attracts is ‘Money’ & ‘Votes’. Here it is really getting difficult for BJP to cross the majority margin against this TRIO and should search for a friend but hardly any option.
BJP (Hindutva + Modi factor + non-Maharashtrian vote bank) + Friend (New Saffron agenda + Maharashtrian vote bank) can get some fortune for BJP in civic polls. The need is for the committed Hindu voters of SS, NCP & Congress to support BJP. The shifting loyalties from NCP and Congress to BJP could be a remote possibility, however, committed Shiv Sena voters will continue to vote for SS as their personal needs and requirements can only be fulfilled by SS and not by anybody else.
Moreover, most Soldiers are actually pleased with the MVA govt functioning especially the top Shiv Sena leadership as they believe that their leaders are adhering to their unique style, they are familiar with from party inception especially on all matters of state and party governance. As per current and near-future situations, Shiv Sena and NCP are sure to fight together for BMC Elections. Congress may not fight jointly but is almost sure to join a post-poll alliance with Shiv Sena and NCP.
BJP never had a stronghold in BMC historically. However, if they are able to create a secret alliance with parties like MNS, they may have some chance to put up a fight. Considering the present situation Shiv Sena-NCP alliance (& Congress) seems to be the sure winner in the 2022 BMC Elections. Even if Shiv Sena goes alone, they will successfully pull the count they need. In this entire equation, BJP has to really juggle various factors. Internally the party is divided into various groups. Devendra is almost overpowered and shadowed by leaders like Chandrakant Dada Patil and old players of BJP. Those who can influence civic polls for the party have their own ego issues.
The Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) led by Advocate Prakash Ambedkar too jumped in Mumbai civic polls. The party is planning to contest from 80-90 seats in the BMC election and will hold a press conference on Monday to announce its alliance. The VBA plans to contest seats that have a substantial number of Dalit and Muslim populations where VBA claims to have worked at ground level. Whereas neither Ambedkar nor his party ever contributed anything to Mumbaikar’s life or the city’s development for that matter. In civic polls people really don’t care for the party, they vote for a candidate. They don’t see who is Dalit or Brahmin, if the corporator has given his/her best in the respective constituency no one can really discredit them.
This is the time even local people support the candidate who stands for them, who is providing water, sanitation and road issues. If you visit Mumbai you will find, the inner road works, toilet building and pipeline work for water supply are in full swing, some corporators went beyond water meter and gutter, they are arranging vaccination camps, supply of grains and educational aid. What people want is attention and timely help from their local leaders. In my constituency, our corporator has donated some garden chairs for senior citizens. He goes to every society and talks to people. He is building that friendly rapport with people.
Some corporators approach bhajan mandali, Satsang and yoga groups, providing them aids and support. Tree plantation camps to donate blood are on. Hence, I believe it is too difficult to win a seat for those political parties who have not made any contribution to people’s life. Some political parties may not win many seats but they can create a negative impact or any kind of political damage on the bigger parties in the civic elections. It is about which party or candidate has done good work in a particular ward. Aam Aadmi Party is another dark horse, they are slowly gaining momentum. But to sum up, I can say, it’s only Shiv Sena that would get a huge mandate.