The Congress is hoping to bag the Mayor’s post using disgruntled Shiv Sena corporators.
The Sena’s debacle in the recent assembly elections followed with rumours of mass defection of its corporators to the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has given the Congress hopes that the party can win the mayoral elections to be held in December.
Sources said senior state Congress leaders have been meeting Opposition leader in the civic body Rajhans Singh to devise a strategy to gain control of the cash-rich Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). “CM Ashok Chavan is taking keen interest in Mumbai's mayoral election,” said a senior city Congress leader.
The ruling saffron alliance has 115 members in the civic House of 227. The Congress and its allies have 110 members, including six from the MNS. Two seats are vacant.
Sena legislator Ravindra Waikar said: “Congress is dreaming of something which cannot come true. I have full faith on our party men and supporters.”
The Congress is relying on Sena corporators either defecting to the MNS or resigning from the House.
MNS candidates got leads in wards of 40 corporators in the recent Assembly elections. Some Sena corporators think they have better chances of
winning if they move to the MNS.
“If a third members from any party wishes to be separate, it can. If the number is less than that they would be disqualified,” said Municipal Secretary Mrudul Joshi.
A newly elected congress legislator said: “The Sena has 81 corporators of which at least 27 [one-third] can separate and support a Congress mayor.”