The Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has now began preparing for its next target — the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation elections scheduled in 2012.
The reason being that municipal corporation is the richest civic body in Asia with an annual budget of Rs 21,000 crore and it can provide the party with both financial and political clout.
The Shiv Sena has been at the helm of the municipal corporation for the past 13 years, and any gains by the MNS will be at the cost of the former.
For this, Thackeray has now planned to overhaul his organisation by undertaking a large-scale reshuffle of his office-bearers.
In the last few days, Thackeray has been holding a series of meetings with top party leaders and the change is expected to take place shortly.
Talking to Hindustan Times, Bala Nandgoankar, MNS legislator said that the whole initiative is aimed at making office-bearers accountable.
“We will promote those who have worked for the party while non-performers will be shown the door,” said Nandgaonkar.
He said that the party workers will adopt an aggressive stance in the run-up to the civic elections.
After the Assembly elections last year, where the MNS tasted success, it now has its sights on municipal corporation, where it has a marginal presence of seven seats.
According to party leader Sanjay Naik, the control of municipal corporation is essential for regional parties such as the MNS.
“Since the municipal corporation deals with all important issues such as water supply, roads and drainage, we will be able to effectively serve the people if we control it,” said Naik.
Political analysts said the success of MNS will prove to be bad news for the Shiv Sena.
“The MNS will lose no oppurtunity to hurt the Sena and the municipal corporation is the best place to do that because the Shiv Sena has held its sway there for decades,” said veteran political commentator Nilu Damle.
“The municipal corporation is a cash cow and MNS will greatly benefit from it,” he added.