After winning the first phase of the civic body elections for 147 municipal council seats and 17 nagar panchayats, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday said it was willing to forge an alliance with its partner, Shiv Sena for the crucial municipal corporation elections in Mumbai and Thane early next year.
“The BJP is always in favour of an alliance with Shiv Sena. We are again positive about forging this alliance for the municipal corporation polls as well,” chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said as party workers celebrated the BJP’s victory outside their Nariman Point office.
Last month, in an interview to Hindustan Times, the chief minister said the two parties would come together for the civic polls in the city.
While the BJP won the first phase on its own, the opposition parties did make a dent during polling — the Congress came in second — and this is perhaps why the CM is keen on an alliance, sources said. Even Fadnavis admitted the BJP would have performed better had it contested all the civic bodies in alliance with the Sena.
The two parties had a limited tie-up for the first phase.
The BJP top brass in the state knows the Sena has a strong presence in the major cities that will go to the polls early next year, and a division of Sena-BJP votes may be an advantage to the opposition.
A section of the BJP, however, is of the view there could be a negative impact in some cities, if the demonetisation move starts affecting people after some time.
Around 10 major municipal corporations are going to the polls by February 2017.
The BJP-Sena alliance has controlled the BMC, the richest in the country, for two decades. But going into election season, there were doubts if the alliance will continue this time.
Sources said the BJP was likely to demand seats based on its current strength that increased after the Assembly polls in 2014.
The CM, however, pointed out that it was the BJP that took an initiative for alliance talks with its partner. “For the municipal council polls too, it was BJP who initiated talks, but Shiv Sena took long to decide and that resulted in a delay and finally an alliance was declared at the eleventh hour,” Fadnavis said.
Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday taunted the BJP. Referring to various local alliances forged by the party in the recent civic polls, Thackeray said the Sena won seats purely on its strength and not by forging an alliance with different parties at different places.