Raj Thackeray's Maharshtra Navnirman Sena is all set to play kingmaker in Nashik after the newly formed party showed a strong performance and managed to win 12 seats in the 108 seated Nashik Muncipal Corporation.
With the SS-BJP combines tally of 40 seats and Congress-NCP 38 seats still a long way from the magic figure of 55 seats to attain a clear majority, MNS along with independent candidates is going to play the deciding factor in who controls the NMC.
The Congress party, which has managed to bag 21 seats, has already decided to stake claim for power. "Our aim is that a coalition of all secular minded parties should head the NMC. We are in talks with all secular parties including MNS to provide support to our claim," Nasik District Congress president Shobha Bacchav said.
Meanwhile MNS seems to be driving a hard bargain for supporting the Congress-NCP combine. The performance of MNS has surprised political analysts who pegged the party's chance of notching up only 5-6 seats before the polls.
"We want an MNS mayor to head the NMC. Various parties have contacted us but a final decision will be made by our party chief Raj Thackeray," MNS city president Vasant Gite said.
Meanwhile there are indications that the Congress-NCP combine could offer various sops to the MNS including the standing committees
chairmanship, to win its support.
The SS-BJP combine which presently heads the NMC managed to win only 40 seats. The SS-BJP combine which had an absolute majority in last years elections with 60 seats suffered due to the defections of two of its former mayors to MNS and the Congress.
The Nationalist Congress Party also lost ground with its seat share decreasing from 23 to 17 this year.