Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray called off on Thursday the alliance with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the upcoming municipal corporation elections in Mumbai.
Addressing a party rally in Mumbai, Thackeray said the Sena would no longer have an alliance with the BJP in any of the future polls, also indirectly putting a question mark on the future of the state government.
“I will not tie up with BJP in any of the future polls in any city or district council. From this day onward, Sena will tread a new path. For the last 25 years, we rotted in this alliance..If in the past Sena founder Bal Thackeray had not stood behind them (BJP), they would have been destroyed by now,’’ Thackeray said.
The Sena chief also referred to the BJP as a “wild bull” that had got out of control and now had to be “tamed”.
Addressing the crowd, Thackeray said, “You (the BJP) have the prime minister, the chief minister. We have never asked for any plum portfolios or deputy chief minister’s post… We have always been loyal to you and even saved you from the opposition several times. But now if you are going to encroach on my home, we are not going to stay quiet.”
The split translates into the Sena and the BJP facing off each other in the upcoming local elections in 10 of the biggest cities in the state and 25 district councils, which account for 75% of the rural vote bank.
In the long term, it points to an uncertain future for the Devendra Fadnavis government that is dependent on 63 Shiv Sena legislators. BJP with 122 seats falls short of a clear majority in the state.
After Thackeray’s announcement, Maharashtra chief minister Fadnavis tweeted, “Transparent governance is our mantra. We will go with those who come with us or go ahead without them. But, a transformation is imminent.”
The upcoming civic polls are likely to see a bitter war between the former allies with Sena expected to take on the BJP over demonetisation while the BJP responds with allegations of corruption.
How the parties fare in the Mumbai civic polls could decide the future of the state government.
Elections to MCGM and other municipal corporations in the state including Nashik, Pune, Kolhapur and Nagpur will be held on February 21. The results will be announced on February 23.