More than a lakh Shiv Sena workers from across the state are likely to make their way to Shivaji Park on Tuesday evening for the party’s annual Dussehra gathering, where party chief Uddhav Thackeray is likely to spell out the Sena’s strategy ahead of the Mumbai civic polls.
With elections to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) less than four months away, and with nine other municipal corporations and several zilla parishads across the state too headed towards polls, the Sena’s annual Dussehra rally assumes a special significance this year. Besides, states such as Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Uttarakhand and Gujarat also have Assembly elections scheduled next year, which the Sena is looking to contest and where it is hoping to eat into the BJP’s vote share.
With the growing rift between the two parties, especially as the BJP trebled its strength in the state from 46 MLAs in 2009 to 122 in 2014 and ascertained its upper hand in the alliance, Thackeray is likely to use Tuesday’s platform to indicate if the party is likely to contest solo in the 2017 polls.
The Shiv Sena has had a firm control over the Mumbai civic body, the country’s richest municipal corporation, for the past 20 years with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) its junior partner in the alliance. However, buoyed by its success at the state level, the BJP is now looking to expand in Mumbai, the Sena’s home turf.
This year, party functionaries initially had concerns about being able to hold the Dussehra rally at the landmark Shivaji Park with the monsoon stretching well into October. However, with there being a dry patch for the past three to four days, the ground has been drained of water and readied for the Sena tradition, in its 50th year now.
50th Dussehra rally More than one lakh Shiv Sena workers from across the state to be present at Shivaji Park today