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Mumbai BJP gets aggressive with Shiv Sena after winning Bhandup by-election

BJP victory is people’s verdict against Shiv Sena’s mafia raj in BMC, says MP Kirit Somaiya

mumbai Updated: Oct 13, 2017 14:03 IST
Naresh Kamath
Naresh Kamath
Hindustan Times
The BJP’s Jagruti Patil (centre, in orange) defeated the Shiv Sena’s candidate to win the Bhandup by-election on Thursday.(HT)

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Mumbai unit aggressively took on the Shiv Sena after winning the municipal body by-election in the city’s eastern suburb of Bhandup on Thursday.

Among the first to react to the victory was BJP MP Kirit Somaiya, who described it as a verdict against the Sena’s “mafia raj” in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). “People have voted against the mafia raj and also against the arrogance of its chief Uddhav Thackeray,” Somaiya said. In the coming months, the BJP will replace the Sena as the single largest party in the BMC, the MP added.

A little more subtle, Mumbai BJP president Ashish Shelar tweeted: “Despite tall claims made by others, the voters voted for the BJP.”

Despite this loss, the Sena continues to maintain its lead in the civic body with 84 sitting corporators, which is two more than its ally-turned-rival. As the Sena also has the support of four independent corporators, there is no challenge to its position as the ruling party in the BMC. While the two parties contested fiercely against each other in the civic polls held earlier this year, they continue to share an uneasy, frayed alliance at state level.

The BJP secured 11,229 votes to win the by-elections in ward 116 in Bhandup (West) on Thursday. Its candidate Jagruti Patil is the daughter-in-law of Congress corporator Pramila Patil, whose sudden death in April led to the by-election. Patil defeated Sena candidate Minakshi Patil, who is married to local legislator Ashok Patil, by 4,892 votes.

The BJP’s aggressive stance has been prompted by Uddhav Thackeray, who has been sparing neither words nor opportunities to criticise and embarrass its ally. The Sena has held a series of agitations recently against the rise in price of essential commodities. Last week, Thackeray accused the central government of looting people by levying multiple taxes and warned the BJP to take corrective action as its decisions have led to large-scale resentment among the public.

Thackeray is believed to be upset with the BJP for marginalising his party, sidelining the Sena ministers, and deliberately neglecting developmental work in the constituencies of his legislators.

First Published: Oct 13, 2017 13:39 IST