Yesterday’s Rivals have Little Option but to Unite and Rule
Sena aware of BJP threat, but numbers may not favour a split; BJP leaders hopeful of give and take
New Delhi: A hectic political campaign for the richest civic body in the country has come to an end two days ago, the results have been declared now, but there is still no clarity as to who will run the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). The Shiv Sena and the BJP have to run it together but the former is apprehensive of the BJP’s rise which is leading to some hesitation in the party.
The Shiv Sena has got 84 seats but the BJP has got 82 seats. Under normal circumstances, the two could come together after the polls and easily muster the 114 figure needed to get majority. However, things are not so simple, the Shiv Sena is aware that the BJP is now threatening its very existence. “The BJP has already jumped from 31 to 82 in the current elections; if we continue to be in a tie-up with them, then the BJP would wipe us out in the next elections,”said a Sena leader.
The Sena’s problem is that the BJP has already upped the ante and has said that it would want its corporator to be the Mayor. While a Mayor is just a figure head and has no powers in the BMC, for the Sena it would be an ego issue to part with the Mayor’s post to the BJP. The NCP has 9 and the MNS has 7, even if the two support the Sena, the latter would still be short of a majority to make matters worse, the BJP has claimed that it has the support of 4 independents.
The Sena is the one with all the dilemmas as the political arithmetic is such that it may be forced to go with the BJP in the end. “The other big player in these elections is Congress which has 31 seats; there is talk that they could support us from outside to keep the BJP out.” However, a senior Congress leader said that this was not possible. “The Shiv Sena and BJP both are communal. The Shiv Sena is in fact an ally in Maharashtra as well as the Delhi government. Why should we support them,” said the Congress leader. Mumbai Congress Chief Sanjay Nirupam called it a hypothetical question on whether the Congress would support the Sena. “We have not been approached by the Sena yet, this decision (to support or not support) is not something that I can take on my own. It would be the central leadership’s call. The moot point is that the Sena is part of the BJP government in Maharashtra and at the Centre,” said Nirupam. BJP leaders are however confident that they would be tying up with the Sena in the BMC. “This will involve some discussion and it will take a couple of days, but in the end it would be resolved,” said the BJP leader There would be some give and take. It is better that the Sena is with us for we also have to think of the stability of our state government,” said the BJP leader.
BJP leaders are however confident that they would be tying up with the Sena in the BMC