After some harsh criticism of former ally Shiv Sena, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has now hinted at a possibility of a post-poll alliance with the party if the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fails to secure a majority in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections.
Fadnavis, however, did reiterate he is confident about BJP emerging as the single-largest party. During an interaction with the media at Varsha — his official bungalow — on Sunday, Fadnavis called the BMC election a “bipolar contest” between the Sena and the BJP.
“After the results, the BJP will emerge on top,” he told reporters. He said the strength of the Congress, which is currently the second-largest party in the BMC with 52 corporators, will reduce “drastically”.
The chief minister said if BJP is the single-largest party and there is a need for an alliance, they would take a decision based on the “agenda of transparency”.
“We will be prepared to take or give help on the agenda of transparency. But right now, we are confident we will not need any support. Power is not important, transparency is,” Fadnavis said.
The Sena and the BJP ended their 25-year-old alliance on Republic Day and following that, both parties have engaged in a fierce war of words.
When asked if entering into an alliance with a party they have been slamming during the campaign won’t be a betrayal of voters’ trust, Fadnavis responded, “People are voting for us on the agenda of transparency, and if we compromise that agenda, it would be a bigger betrayal. But we are confident of a complete majority.”
Meanwhile, Fadnavis attacked the Sena on Sunday and said the party had taken Mumbaiites, and especially the Marathi manoos, for granted. “They [Sena] had taken the Marathi people for granted. But we have given them the vision of development. Girgaum, which is the oldest Marathi-dominated area, has water woes today despite long water pipes the BMC has laid. But we are giving them a Metro. The people affected by its construction will get 500 sqft houses each, in place of the existing 120 sqft ones. So we think they [Sena] should be given five years for self-analysis,” he said.
After the split, the Sena put the Fadnavis government on “notice period”, but Fadnavis claimed his government is not in any danger. “We will remain in majority and will complete the full-term. Can a person, whose government is supposedly in danger, look so relaxed and be smiling?” he asked.
Fadnavis, being the face of the municipal corporation polls in the state, has put a lot of his political capital at stake, but he said there was no threat to his job. “The BJP will emerge as the number one party in the municipal corporation poll and 25 Zilla Parishad polls in the state.”