Putting an end to all speculation, the Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) announced late on Friday that they will be forming an alliance and sharing power in the Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC). The decision was made after senior leaders of the two parties met on Friday. The power sharing between the two will be announced on Saturday.
The saffron allies fought an intense election for control of KDMC, seen as a precursor to the Mumbai civic polls battle in 2017, which also saw Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray being pitted against chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. The Sena got 52 of the 122 seats, 10 seats shy of a majority, while the BJP got 42 seats in these polls.
For three days, speculation was rife that the two parties were trying to woo independents and beef up their strength.
Friday evening saw hectic developments, with senior leaders from both parties holding meetings. State BJP chief Raosaheb Danve met senior Sena leader and industries minister Subhash Desai, during which the decision was taken.
The decision by the two parties effectively ends speculation over the kingmaker’s role that the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) could have played in helping build a stable coalition.
A spurned MNS chief Raj Thackeray said that his party will not be offering its support to any party.
“Both the parties have decided to form an alliance in KDMC. An in-principle decision has been taken. We have also decided to keep out all other parties and independents from this process,” said senior Sena leader Subhash Desai.
“We have entrusted the fixing the specifics of power-sharing to Sena leader and Thane guardian minister Eknath Shinde and Sudhir Mungantiwar from the BJP. The final details will be announced by Saturday morning.”
“Whatever decision is taken by Mungantiwar and Shinde will be accepted by both parties,’’ said BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari.
Power-sharing talks may, however, not be smooth sailing for the two parties. While the Sena has publicly said it will bag the Mayor’s post, BJP leaders have been privately saying the party wants the Mayor’s post at least in rotation. “As long as the Sena accepts that our strength has grown in Kalyan and is willing to give us our due, there should not be a problem. We don’t want to spell out what we want but mayoral term is not an unfair demand,’’ said a senior BJP leader.
“We know that the BJP has been eyeing the post. But, this is a non-negotiable for us,” said a senior Sena leader, not wishing to be named.