With barely two days to go for the Thane mayoral election, the Shiv Sena filed a case of abduction against NCP leader and MLA Jitendra Awhad after a newly-elected BJP corporator, Suhasini Lokhande, reportedly went missing.
"There is no doubt the NCP has a hand in this. The police are also derailing the investigation. We will agitate until Lokhande is found," said the Sena's Thane MLA and district president Eknath Shinde. Awhad said, "The Sena has become so insecure and there is so much infighting that such incidents are bound to happen." The Sena-BJP alliance has bagged 62 seats in the Thane Municipal Corporation. It needs 66 votes to prove its majority in the 130-strong house, so losing even one vote can spell trouble. The Sena claims to have the support of two independents and two BSP members, taking the figure to 66. But if the corporator does not turn up, things might change.
The NCP-Congress combine, on the other hand, has 52 seats and has announced the support of five independents taking its strength to 57.
In case Lokhande does not turn up for the poll, the MNS, with seven seats, will play a critical role in deciding who Thane's next mayor will be.
Sources say NCP is in talks with the MNS for an alliance. If the MNS supports NCP, then the latter may reach 66. However, if it abstains from voting or votes for the alliance, then it will be a sweeping victory for the Sena.
"We have till March 6 to decide. We will surely play a major role in deciding the mayor," said Rajan Gavan, spokesperson, MNS.