After a strong victory in Mumbai during the 2014 state assembly elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is keen on contesting councillor wards falling under its constituencies for the civic polls. It plans to draw up a list and share it with ally Shiv Sena.
In the second round of seat-sharing talks between the warring allies held on Wednesday, the Shiv Sena and the BJP discussed the probable division of Mumbai’s areas between themselves and decided to exchange a list of the exact ward numbers that both are interested in.
“The BJP is keen on more wards in areas such as Ghatkopar, Goregaon, Kandivli and Vile Parle, where the party has its legislators. Leaders think they can make more gains in these areas. We have asked them to submit a list of the exact ward numbers that they want to contest,” said a senior Shiv Sena leader.
During the 2014 assembly polls, the BJP grabbed 15 constituencies in Mumbai versus the Sena’s tally of 14. The BJP mostly won in areas with a significant Gujarati population, such as Ghatkopar, Vile Parle, Kandivli, Borivli, Dahisar, Mulund, Goregaon, Versova, Andheri, Malabar Hill and Colaba.
The BJP is likely to submit the list before Thursday, after which, the Shiv Sena will draw up its own list of seats, indicating those that it is willing to concede to the BJP. “We may have another round of discussions on Thursday based on the two lists,” a Shiv Sena leader said. Both parties have agreed to finalise their lists and hand them over to their respective leaders by January 21 for a final decision.
Despite the souring of relations over the past few years, the BJP and Shiv Sena have been in talks for a pre-poll alliance for the upcoming Brihanmumbai Municpal Corporation (BMC) election, as the top leadership of both parties feel that this will ensure a more comfortable victory. The BJP — buoyed by its recent victory in the state assembly polls — is asking for 115 of the 227 seats, up from the 63 seats it contested in 2012. The Sena, however, is willing to give 90 to 100 seats to its ally.
Senior Sena leaders Anil Desai, Anil Parab and Ravindra Mirlekar attended the meeting to discuss seat-sharing with BJP cabinet ministers Vinod Tawde and Prakash Mehta and Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar.