By Online Lokmat | Published by:
August 31, 2022 04:06 PM 2022-08-31T16:06:12+5:30 2022-08-31T16:10:39+5:30
After wresting power from Uddhav Thackeray through Eknath Shinde in Maharashtra politics, the BJP is looking to take over the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) with Raj Thackeray. Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena dominated the BMC for nearly three and a half decades.
In such a changing political climate, the BJP is joining hands with Raj Thackeray’s party MNS to try to oust the Shiv Sena from the BMC. Capture of BMC is BJP’s plan to rule Mumbai and establish political supremacy. Shiv Sena started from Mumbai.
Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray has lobbied for local Bhoomiputras in Mumbai to strengthen the party’s base. Shiv Sena was formed in 1966 and just five years later in 1971 Dr. SS Gupta was made Mayor. Shiv Sena never looked back after that.
In 1985, the Shiv Sena had so consolidated its dominance in the BMC that no one could break it again. In the changing political climate of the state, the BJP plans to destroy this Shiv Sena stronghold and has started trying to take Raj Thackeray along for the same. Frequent high-level meetings are an indication of this.
Maharashtra BJP president Chandrasekhar Bawankule on Tuesday met MNS president Raj Thackeray at his residence Shivtirtha. A day before that, on Monday, BJP National General Secretary Vinod Tawde also met Raj Thackeray. The same morning, Raj Thackeray reached his residence in Malabar to meet Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. BJP leaders’ growing friendship with Raj Thackeray is being linked to BMC elections.
In the 2017 elections, the Shiv Sena contested the BMC elections alone and won 84 of the 227 seats, while the BJP won 82 corporators. As the BJP then made no effort to form the government, it became easy for the Shiv Sena to install the mayor. But this time, BJP is trying to wrest power from Shiv Sena in Maharashtra as well as Mumbai.
In this scenario, BJP’s strategy is to grab Shiv Sena’s Marathi vote bank with the support of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde group and Raj Thackeray. Currently, discussions are going on between both the BJP and MNS parties regarding the BMC elections.
The BJP sees Raj Thackeray as a powerful speaker who can aggressively counter Uddhav Thackeray and the Sambhaji brigade. Even if Raj Thackeray can’t win the seat in such a situation, BJP also knows that he can be vital for BJP. Raj Thackeray’s meeting will help create atmosphere against Mahavikash Aghadi.
The BJP wants to induct Raj Thackeray’s MNS into the Sindh cabinet in Maharashtra so that they can become a strong force for the BMC’s electoral alliance. Raj Thackeray saw his political future by contesting elections alone and now he sees an opportunity to strengthen his caste with the BJP.
In this scenario, BJP may be ready for an alliance with MNS with 30-35 seats in BMC elections, as the Shinde group will also be given seats. The BJP wants to keep 150 seats for itself so that it can win as the largest party and become the mayor of Mumbai.
But an MNS leader said, “MNS wants to contest BMC elections. But a BJP-Shinde group alliance should be logical. Another party leader said, “Rajsaheb will not surrender to BJP. It is told on its terms. So, no one is commenting officially whether there will be MNS-BJP alliance or not.