BJP likely to fight BMC election single-handedly, aiming to gain control over the cash-rich civic body.
After forming government in Maharashtra the BJP is now eyeing the Brihanmumbai Muncipal Polls scheduled to be held in 2017. Mumbai BJP Chief Ashish Shelar has indicated that the party will go solo in the civic body polls. The BJP’s impressive performance in Lok Sabha election and assembly election in Maharashtra and Haryana has boosted the party’s confidence to fight elections with single-handedly. Until now, the saffron party has been playing second fiddle to Shiv Sena which is heading the BMC with 75 seats. However, the scenario has changed as BJP is not keen on having an alliance with the Sena for the next municipal election.
The BMC is the richest municipal corporation of the country with an annual budget of Rs 31, 178. 19 crore. Sena, which has been on the opposition benches in the state assembly over the past 15 years, draws its political strength from BMC. Sena had always played the role of big brother, getting a higher number of seats as well as key posts such as mayor and standing committee chairman among others. During the 2012 BMC elections, which Sena and BJP fought jointly, Sena emerged as the largest party with 75 seats, and BJP won 31 seats in the 227-seat corporation. However, the party has fared better in the Maharashtra assembly polls by winning 15 out of 36 seats while Sena bagged 14.
“We have emerged as the largest party in the state assembly polls. We intend to expand our base in the city. ‘Cent percent BJP’ will be our motto during the BMC polls too,” a BJP source said.
Mumbai BJP president Ashish Shelar said, “The recent assembly results show that the mandate is in favour of BJP in Mumbai. We will contest the BMC election alone.”
The BJP wants to capture the BMC from Sena.
A senior BJP leader in the civic body said, “The roles have changed now. We are now the senior partner not only in the state but also in the city. We will definitely contest more number of seats than the Sena in the next BMC elections. If Sena does not agree to this, we will contest on our own. We are confident of winning the civic polls too.”
On the other hand, the Shiv Sena which is right now in the opposition has asked its party workers to prepare for the BMC election. Sena is aware that it is not in a position to bargain for more seats this time as BJP has gained an upper hand in the city and state. The party has already instructed its cadre workers to reach out to the people and understand the problems faced by them. Sena has already taken initiative to create awareness among citizens about how to tackle dengue.
Both BJP and Sena have been unable to resolve the seat sharing issue and hence the latter has opted to sit in opposition. BJP emerged the single largest party in the state winning 122 seats while Sena bagged 63 seats.