In the next five years the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance will complete two decades at the helm in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. This is a feat that no political party in the country has ever achieved, barring the communists in Kolkata.
The main factor that contributed to the BJP-Sena victory this time was the fact that they retained a hold on their traditional Marathi and Gujarati strongholds including Mulund, Borivli, Jogeshwari, Goregaon West, Parel, Lalbaug and Worli.
The Shiv Sena has won 75 seats, compared to the 84 they had won last time. But its alliance partner, the BJP, has increased its count by four seats to 32, despite contesting only 63 seats. The new partner in the alliance, the RPI, won one seat, helping the combine to touch the 108 mark.
“We have performed exceptionally well and won over 50 per cent of the seats we contested. This is because of our cadre-based structure of decentralisation and the trust our voters have in us,” said Ashish Shelar, former corporator and leader of the BJP in the Mumbai civic corporation.
Shelar added that it was because of the BJP that the Sena had been able to taste such success. “It is time they take cognisance of this and treat us as equal partners now,” he said.
However the Sena’s executive president Uddhav Thackeray did not single out the BJP for any special mention. “We worked together as a team, supporting each other, and this has paid off. Even if RPI has just one seat, we are still with them,” he said.
Sena general secretary Anil Desai said that the Sena experiment to give seats to fresh and younger faces had paid rich dividends. “Of the 75 corporators who got elected, 53 faces are new and the youngest corporator is just 21,” he said.