Gujarat’s Hardik Patel, the leader of the Patel reservation movement and a major critic of the Narendra Modi government, may extend his support to Shiv Sena for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls.
Patel is scheduled to meet Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray at his residence, Matoshree, in Bandra. However, he has not yet confirmed if he is will campaign for the saffron party.
Sena, which recently called off its alliance with the BJP and is contesting civic polls on its own, might rope in Patel to garner Gujarati votes. Patel’s support will bolster Sena’s chances of winning the elections, which is attempting to project itself as a cosmopolitan party rather than strictly a pro-Marathi one.
It is for the first time in more than two decades that the Sena and the BJP are contesting BMC polls independently, and the Gujarati votes are a key factor in at least 40 of the 227 seats in areas such as Ghatkopar, Mulund, Borivli and Kalbadevi, among others. Gujaratis are the third largest community in Mumbai after Maharashtrians and north Indians.