Sena in shock as BJP nar­rows gap in BMC

DNA (Daily News & Analysis) Mumbai Edition - - FRONT PAGE -

ing in the op­po­si­tion and look­ing for a dal­liance with the BJP,” he ex­plained.

“Raj Thack­eray is try­ing to re­vive his party (MNS). That holds a threat for the Shiv Sena, which must con­sol­i­date it­self… the real threat for the Sena lies in ar­eas out­side the Mumbai-Thane belt,” the Shiv Sena source said.

Sena leg­is­la­tors grum­ble that de­spite the party en­joy­ing a strong base in ar­eas out­side Mumbai like the Konkan, Marath­wada, North Ma­ha­rash­tra and Western Vi­darbha, the or­gan­i­sa­tion has done lit­tle to build up or­ganic, grass­roots lead­er­ships there. They com­plain that the Shiv Sena has de­vel­oped a Mumbai-cen­tric fo­cus over the years, which comes at the cost of its base in semi-ur­ban and ru­ral Ma­ha­rash­tra.

De­spite the in­creas­ing tide of lin­guis­tic pol­i­tics, the fall­ing num­bers of Ma­ha­rash­tri­ans in Mumbai and a sec­tion of up­per and mid­dle-class Ma­ha­rash­tri­ans shift­ing loy­al­ties to the BJP too does not au­gur well for the Shiv Sena.

Ashok Patil, Shiv Sena MLA from Bhandup, whose wife Meenakshi lost the by­elec­tion— her sec­ond con­sec­u­tive de­feat from the seat — charged that the BJP’s vic­tory was the re­sult of “ma­nip­u­la­tion of EVM ma­chines”.

He ad­mit­ted that the vic­tory had in­creased from just 358 to around 4,791. In the 2014 as­sem­bly elec­tions, Patil had a lead of 1,100 votes.

—HEMANT PADALKAR/DNA

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