Chavan has imposed a condition that Congress will extend support to Sena if the latter sever ties with BJP in the state.
Even though Shiv Sena and BJP have come up with a better performance in the recently concluded BMC polls none of the party has mandate to run the civic body. Right now various permutations and combinations are being worked out by both Sena and BJP to arrive at the magic figure of 114 required for ruling BMC. On the other hand, MPCC president Ashok Chavan and Congress legislator Abdul Sattar has hinted about offering support to Sena. Congress is closely watching the developments in the aftermath of BMC polls and might offer an olive branch to Sena to keep BJP out of power. The party which has hit an all-time low after losing assembly is trying to revive itself by aligning with Sena. Since BJP is strengthening its foothold in the state Congress might offer support to Sena to keep a check on the saffron party’s growth.
If Sena aligns with BJP then it may try to call the shots in BMC which is not acceptable to the former. Therefore, Uddhav Thackeray led party might go for a tie up with Congress, NCP or other smaller parties.
Ashok Chavan said, “Even though, we have ideological differences with Shiv Sena but we may extend support to them. We are keenly watching the political situation right now. We are exploring all possibilities at this moment. We will discuss this matter and take a decision in the interest of the party. Before offering supporting Sena we would like to know whether they will sever ties with BJP in the state.”
Congress legislator Abdul Sattar said, ‘’The party will take a call on extending support after it receives a formal offer from Shiv Sena. Our main rival is BJP and therefore the Congress party’s state unit will submit a formal proposal to the high command on supporting Shiv Sena not only in BMC, but in other civic and local bodies across Maharashtra as well.”
Senior Congress leader Narayan Rane said, “The Congress high command will take a decision pertaining to offering support to Sena. I am unaware about what message senior leaderships have sent across Ashok Chavan. Sena is not our enemy and we have to keep all options open.”
Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray refused to comment about the strategy to be adopted by his party to retain power in BMC. “We are celebrating and have not taken any decision about having alliance with any party. Right now discussions are being held and final decision will be taken later.”
On the other hand, political analysts say there are slim chances of Congress supporting Sena. “If the party extends support to Sena then it will have an adverse impact on the party’s electoral prospects in Uttar Pradesh where it has a tie up Samajwadi Party. Also if Sena and Congress come together it will send a wrong message to voters,” said a political analyst on the condition of anonymity.
The BMC has a total budget 37,000 crore, of which 22,000 are spend on administrative expenses and salaries of 1.25 lakh employees. The remaining 15,000 crore is yearly spent on roads, sewage, hospital and other civic amenities.