Shiv Sena has turned down MNS proposal for having a pre-poll alliance for contesting the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) election. Sena which had called off its alliance with BJP is likely to go solo in civic body polls. According to sources, MNS was keen to have an alliance with Sena to prevent BJP from winning more seats in the civic body polls. However, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray is reluctant to have a tie-up with MNS and is planning to go solo in BMC election. Raj Thackeray had called Uddhav six times but the latter gave him a cold shoulder. Even senior MNS leader Bala Nandgaonakar had visited Matoshree the residence of Uddhav and met Sena minister Subash Desai for discussing the proposal. Earlier too, talks were held between Sena and MNS after the former had severed ties with BJP ahead of the 2014 assembly polls but it failed to materialise.
According to sources, “Shiv Sena had already finalised the list of candidates for contesting BMC polls. Therefore Uddhav Thackeray didn’t want to upset party workers by having an alliance with MNS or other parties. Grassroot workers were not keen on Sena having a tie up with MNS for civic body polls.”
This time too Sena had a discussion with MNS pertaining to pre-poll alliance for BMC polls. Both parties had met for five times. MNS was willing to have a pact with Sena without imposing any condition for the election. On the other hand, Uddhav denied receiving any proposal from MNS for contesting civic body polls together.
“We have not received any proposal for having an alliance for BMC election. Our party will contest the election single-handedly and we won’t have a tie-up with other parties,” said Uddhav Thackeray.
Bala Nandgaonkar said, “We have not imposed any condition for alliance and are ready to accept whatever seats Sena will allot to us. We are working for the interest of the Marathi people and are ready to align with Sena to prevent the division of votes. Even though Sena has rejected our proposal, the door for discussion with them remains open for us.”
According to political observers, MNS is suffering from some sort of “trust deficit” and “credibility crisis,” a perception its leaders and functionaries refuse to share.
Five years ago, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, riding on Raj’s charisma and “anti-north Indian immigrant” agenda, had bagged 28 seats in Mumbai corporation, seven in Thane, 29 in Pune, four in Pimpri-Chinchwad, two in Nagpur and one in Akola.
Party insiders say majority of the 111 corporators as well as former MLAs have switched sides either to Sena or BJP.