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Uddhav under pressure to form alliance?

Sena which is currently ruling the BMC is feeling the heat in the aftermath of BJP’s impressive performance in the local body polls in Maharashtra.

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Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray has hinted that his party is likely to have an alliance with BJP for the forthcoming Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) election. Sena which is currently ruling the BMC is feeling the heat in the aftermath of BJP’s impressive performance in the local body polls in Maharashtra. Earlier Sena was planning to fight the civic body election alone to challenge the BJP. However the manner in which BJP is making inroads into remote areas of Maharashtra has made Sena anxious as it is not averse to having an alliance with the saffron party. Moreover Sena’s strategy of raking up the demonetisation issue to counter the BJP has backfired.  The party leaders are also worried that BJP might wrest control of the BMC from Sena. Even speculations are rife about Sena having a tie-up with BJP for the civic body election.

Uddhav Thackeray said, “We will have a pre-poll alliance with the BJP as people want both the parties to come together to work for the city’s development. Elections come and go but people have faith in the BJP-Sena alliance since last 20 years. If we had a tie-up with BJP for the local body election then we might have won more seats.”

Uddhav had made these statements while commissioning Kapurbawadi-Bhandup underground water supply project. Even Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was present on this occasion.

Sena is known for making comments against BJP through its editorial mouthpiece Saamna. Earlier BJP MP Kirit Somaiya had said that BJP will fight the BMC elections without Sena’s support.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadanavis said, “We both are aware that no one can defeat us if we fight election together. I share a very good rapport with Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray. No rift exists between us. There are some issues at the local level but we can amicably resolve them. I am in regular touch with Uddhav.”

A senior BJP leader spoke on the condition of anonymity and said, “Sena was surprised by Fadnavis’s emphasis on “BJP becoming the number one party in Maharashtra at all levels”. Shiv Sena always considered itself being the number one party. However the scenario has changed after the 2014 assembly polls as BJP is rapidly expanding its base in the state.”

The BMC election scheduled to be held next year will be a litmus test for BJP and Sena. In the current BMC, the Sena has 75 members and BJP 31. In the 2012 elections, the Sena had contested 162 seats leaving 65 for the BJP.

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