Shiv Sena puts speculations of post-poll tie-up with Congress, blasts BJP

Feb 24, 2017, 19:01 IST | Shashank Rao

Devendra Fadnavis and Uddhav Thackeray
Devendra Fadnavis and Uddhav Thackeray

Even as desperate speculation on who will helm Asia's richest municipal corporation continues after yesterday's poll results, the Sena effectively put a cap on it all with a vitriolic editorial against its once ally in this morning's edition of its mouthpiece, Saamana. After BJP extended an olive branch to its frenemy last evening, Uddhav declared that the fight had not ended.

The editorial titled 'Ladai Suruch Rahil' (the fight will continue), the Sena mocked the BJP by rubbing in the fact that despite backing from Delhi and after having pooled in all its resources, the national party was unable to defeat the Sena. It also reminded the BJP that the Sena had been running Mumbai for the past 50 years, and for 25, the BMC.

Does this mean that the Sena could accept Congress's offer, who with 31 seats will take it to the magic number 115 it needs to rule the BMC again? What makes this even more likely is that the alliance with the Congress will help the Sena show BJP its place, who despite a strong 82 seats, will not be able to field its corporators in vital posts like that of Mayor, chairman of the Standing Committee, Tree Authority, BEST Committee and other heads of the civic body, all of which will remain with the Sena.

Political experts said while at this point all parties will hold their cards close to their chests, this morning's developments could hint at Sena's inclination towards the Congress.

According to a political analyst, one reason why parties were hesitant about saying too much was because of the ongoing UP elections. "There are two huge national parties, the Congress and the BJP, slugging it out in UP. Any merger now, for either of them with the Sena, could develop into a delicate situation later,” said a political analyst. There are ideologies at stake, too, said analysts.

In the event that Sena-BJP do come to an understanding, there is the likelihood of the two sharing the coveted post of Mayor, which Fadnavis last evening declared BJP will keep no matter what, for two-and-half years each.

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