Sena-BJP rift in KDMC to change political equationsUpdated: Jan 25, 2020 01:05 IST
With the 20-year-old alliance between Shiv Sena and Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) on the verge of snapping in Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC), all eyes are on civic elections this year.
The Congress has extended its support to Shiv Sena, that has been polling the largest number of votes every civic election.
Kalyan has always been a Shiv Sena turf with BJP merely playing a supporting role.
Analyst said BJP has more to lose from the breakup. The party, which gained popularity following the Modi wave in 2014, might also have to encounter few rebels who will probably join the Sena in lure of power.
On January 20, after another heated debate over illegal constructions, the then deputy mayor Upeksha Bhoir, who is from the BJP, resigned from her post and walked out of the Sena-BJP alliance. Mayor Vinita Rane, from the Sena, announced there will be a re-election for the post.
Earlier this month, too, the rift between the two parties came to the fore early this month during elections for standing committee chairman.
BJP won the election despite Shiv Sena having majority as one of the Sena corporators did not turn up for the election.
Political Analyst Raj Asrondkar said, “Shiv Sena is the strongest party in KDMC, which cannot be denied. Sena might not be affected by the breakup. Although the two parties have been in an alliance for 20 years, there were regular spars between the two.”
He said chances are that all parties will contest separately and later form an alliance.
In 2015 civic polls, the Sena and BJP contested the civic elections separately and later formed an alliance while the MNS which was the third largest party sat in Opposition.
Shiv Sena won 52 seats, BJP 42 seats, Congress bagged four and NCP won two seats in 2015 polls.
In the three civic elections between 2000-2010, Shiv Sena-BJP contested the election in alliance and won the election. In 2015, with the growing bitterness in the party’s ideology, they contested the elections separately.
Asrondkar said, “With the present scenario in the state, Shiv Sena can join hands with the NCP and Congress for civic polls too. In the last elections, the two parties performed badly due to Modi wave. BJP can also join hands with the MNS to improve their chances as MNS still has a strong voter base in Kalyan and Dombivli.”
In the 2005 and 2010 civic polls, the Congress won more seats than the BJP. In 2005, Congress won 21 seats and in 2010, it won 15 seats, the BJP won 16 seats in 2005 and 9 seats in 2010.
Asrondkar also warns of rebellion in major parties. He said, “There are chances of party workers from other parties joining Sena ahead of elections. Sena will also have to juggle seats to ensure that party workers and rebels are happy.”
With speculations on MNS joining hands with BJP, experts said this will benefit both parties. Sreeniwas Ghanekar, political expert from Kalyan, said, “Raj Thackeray-led MNS still has its presence in the twin city, which was proved in the recent Assembly polls. If MNS joins hands with the BJP they both can give a tough fight to the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA).”
Congress and NCP do not have influence in Kalyan and Dombivli. Moreover, Sena’s overall performance in the civic body has been poor with most corporators having differences with the party. “BJP will try all the tricks to outdo Sena,” Ghanekar said.
Although there is a dent in the saffron alliance in KDMC, parties are not keen to patch up. Instead, the blame game has become intense.
Shashikant Kamble, BJP president Kalyan taluka, said, “The only reason to walk away from the alliance is the non-supportive nature of the Sena in developmental works. We do not have an alliance in the state; it won’t last in the civic body too. We believe voters will support us like they did in the 2015 election.”
BJP emerged as a second largest party in the last elections.
A senior Sena leader said, “We agree Sena has always taken support from BJP . The BJP has always betrayed us and there is no trust now. The battle between us has already begun.”
Cong support to Sena
The Congress has said they will be with the Sena in the elections.
Sachin Pote, president of Congress for Kalyan-Dombivli, said, “We will try and contest elections with the Sena in the civic polls. The Congress, NCP and Sena have decided to keep BJP at bay. Our party has weakened in the previous election but we are working on regaining lost seats.”