Mumbai could see triangle fight in civic polls | Bombay News

The Mumbai led rebellion Eknath Shinde in Shiv Sena changed the political equations in Maharashtra. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP0, one of the allies of Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) who planned to forge an alliance with the Shiv Sena for the upcoming Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) poll, is now seeking to join forces with the Congress.

The party is making no effort to onboard Shiv Sena as it believes the Sena leadership is planning to challenge the polls on its own. This means that civic polls could see a triangular competition between the BJP-Shinde-MNS axis, Shiv Sena and the Congress-NCP alliance.

Shiv Sena’s decision to back Droupadi Murmu, a BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate for the presidential election is seen as signaling a virtual end to the days of MVA following a coup State within Sena and the replacement of Eknath Shinde as Chief Minister of Maharashtra.

Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis met with MNS leader Raj Thackeray at his residence on Friday. The meeting gains significance considering the unconditional Hindutva stance he has taken.

The leaders of the NCP and the Shiv Sena mainly received their consent to form an alliance for the BMC elections. Shiv Sena leader Anil Parab and NCP leader Nawab Malik were about to start talks on seat sharing. Prior to that, Malik was arrested by the Law Enforcement (ED) directorate for money laundering in March, NCP insiders said.

But in the current scenario, the chances of an alliance between the two allies for BMC seem unlikely because even though Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray has chosen not to bow to the pressure tactics of Eknath Shinde and the BJP, according to NCP leaders.

“The Shinde-led faction and the BJP are likely to challenge the BMC polls on the ‘Hindutva’ and ‘Marathi Manoos’ board and so efforts are being made to bring MNS leader Raj Thackeray closer. If the Shiv Sena board the NCP, their position on ‘Hinduvta’ will be diluted and the Shinde-led faction and the BJP will use the same against the Shiv Sena in the polls,” an NCP leader said.

A Shiv Sena executive has confirmed that Sena and NCP are on the same page about holding an alliance for the BMC polls. “Things could have happened at the time but it’s hard to say what will happen now because the current situation is very fluid. Things are changing very fast and nobody knows what will happen tomorrow,” said the leader of Sena, on condition of anonymity.

However, NCP leader Sharad Pawar said on Friday that MVA allies should stick together to contest the upcoming elections. “If Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena together challenged Maharashtra polls, then people will have a chance to make up their minds. This is my personal opinion as no discussion has taken place on this front,” Pawar said in Nagpur.

Shiv Sena spokesman Manisha Kayande said there were no talks between MVA allies about the alliance. “Even though Pawar saheb says MVA allies should fight together, there is no sign of talks between Shiv Sena and NCP for holding an alliance. Congress was out of the question as the party had already declared contested elections on its own,” Kayande said.

In a recent meeting with the NCP Mumbai unit, party leader Sharad Pawar asked them to decide within a fortnight who they want to have an alliance with for the BMC polls.

Maharashtra Congress chief spokesman Atul Londhe said it was the party’s policy to stand alone in local polls. However, if the local unit decides to form an alliance, a decision will be made accordingly. “Our priority is to defeat the BJP and if the local body wants to forge an alliance with the NCP, the party will make its decision,” Londhhe said.


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