BMC tussle: Sena hits out at CM, targets BJP over Mufti alliance
Sources in both the parties told HT that the power tussle between the allies will continue with the Sena hoping to stack up more numbers in the 227-member house to drive a hard bargain with the BJP.mumbai Updated: Feb 28, 2017 00:40 IST
A compromise between the saffron allies for control over the BMC on Monday seemed elusive with an aggressive Shiv Sena taunting its ally by sayinh in today’s situation it would be better to side with the Congress than the BJP in its current avatar.
Sources in both the parties told HT that the power tussle between the allies will continue with the Sena hoping to stack up more numbers in the 227-member house to drive a hard bargain with the BJP.
The Sena’s overall position in the mayoral contest also got a push with the MNS not taking the expected anti-Sena stance and instead saying its decision will be in favour of the `Marathi manoos’.
In the poll battle between the BJP and the Sena, non-Marathi speaking voters largely backed the BJP, while a majority of the Marathi vote bank went to the Sena.
The MNS stance comes after the NCP indicated support to the Sena over the BJP in the mayoral election.
The Sena mouthpiece Saamna slammed the BJP over its alliance with Mehbooba Mufti in J&K state, pointing out that Mufti openly supported Afzal Guru, a convict in the Parliament attack case. It published an editorial in response to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’0 statement on Saturday that the BJP would never join hands with the Congress for power.
In the editorial in Saamna, the Shiv Sena said, “We welcome what the chief minister said, but we wish to make one small change and suggest what he should have ideally said. He should have said the BJP will not go with the Congress, but it will go with Pakistan-supporter Mehbooba Mufti.”
The editorial also said the BJP is now a shade worse by having imported discarded leaders from the Congress and the NCP.
:What about the fact that his [Fadnavis’] own party has become a ‘Congress’ by inducting cast-offs of the Congress and the NCP? So the Congress is more preferable than the BJP. It is a question of what direction the current ‘Congress’ version of the BJP may take the state and the country in.”
Meanwhile, Fadnavis in his address to newly elected party corporators at the party’s office in Dadar, also on Monday evening, said the BJP’s mandate was not to join in the ruling system, but to create transparent governance and to that end BJP councillors should not worry about getting posts.
“We have reached from 31 seats to 82 seats. If one looks at our graph, it is clear that people’s mandate is for us. We have won a vote share of 28.5%. After contesting 195 seats, we won 82 seats, while Sena contested 227 seats,’’ said the chief minister in his address to newly elected BJP councillors on the occasion of Marathi language day.
He said it was clear from the past two to three years of the BJP government at the Centre that Prime Minister Narendra Modi did what he said. “The BJP’s insistence is on transparency in every thing.. as such we cannot be a part of this existing system, we have to work towards creating a new transparent system. Don’t worry about what will happen next, whether you will get any posts..Its more important whether we can prove ourselves to be worthy of people’s trust,’’ Fadnavis added.
Sources in the BJP, however, admitted the Sena had stolen a march over them in the current situation and their role would get clear in the first week of March. The mayoral election are slated on March 9 and by March 6 political parties keen on putting up their candidate for the same will have to fill in nominations.
The split mandate in Mumbai with Sena having won 84 seats and BJP 82 seats has led to a another bout of tug of war between the allies turned rivals. The Sena post election results, quickly gathered support of 4 independents , taking its official strength to 88. It has also initiated talks with Congress to actively or indirectly support Sena’s bid for mayor. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has also indicated that if at all a situation arose, it would support Sena’s bid over the BJP. With NCP’s support of 9 corporators, the Sena can swing the mayoral election in its favour if as expected Congress and other parties like Samajwadi Party either abstain from voting or together put up a third mayoral candidate.
If MNS adds its support of 7 corporators, the BJP stands little chance unless it starts poaching on elected councillors of other parties.
But it is also likely that the stacking of the numbers by the Sena is a bid to drive a hard bargain with the BJP in the BMC.
Sources said that while sharing power with the BJP in the state, the Sena may not want to ditch the former ally in BMC as long as it got an upper hand in the civic body.