Even as the Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are yet to take a final call on a pre-poll alliance for the Mumbai civic polls, the Shiv Sena on Monday went ahead and released its manifesto for the polls, raining freebies and promises related to roads, health, open spaces, solid waste and so on.
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, however, maintained the party released its manifesto as it is former Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s birth anniversary, and it does not reflect any final decision on the alliance for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
“It is very important for us to reinforce our commitment to people on this day, so we have released our manifesto today. If the alliance takes shape and they [the BJP] have good suggestions, we will incorporate them in the manifesto,” Thackeray said, adding the talks are on.
Besides property tax rebates that the Sena had announced earlier, some other highlights of the full manifesto include e-libraries for the youth, a music academy, revamp of open spaces, finding solutions to potholes, a specialty hospital for diabetes, 24x7 water supply, electricity generation centre and a coastal road from Dahisar to Nariman Point, among others.
Some of Sena’s promises such as reserving the entire Aarey colony as green zone in the city’s new development plan, however, may go against the BJP-led state government, which has set aside a section to build a Metro car shed.
The Shiv Sena also wants vacant land on the eastern seafront, currently under the Union government’s Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT), to be handed over to the BMC to create a tourist zone. The BJP-led Union government has already selected a design consultant to draw up a plan for MbPT to open up this area to the public, while incorporating residential and commercial construction the Sena is against.
Eyeing the support of Mumbai’s dabbawalas and kolis, the Sena has promised a ‘dabbawala bhavan’ for the community, and regularisation of construction in gaothans and koliwadas in the coastal regulatory zone.
In a lighter vein, Thackeray also said the manifesto is in the interest of people and those who criticise the Sena’s manifesto are “Mumbai drohi [traitors of Mumbai]”.
Read more: Will the Shiv Sena be fifth time lucky?