Targeting Maharashtra civic polls, BJP inducts rival party workers

Mumbai: Having sent feelers to ally Shiv Sena for seat-sharing talks for November polls to Kalyan-Dombivli and Kolhapur municipal corporations, Maharashtra BJP president Raosaheb Danve today said the party aims to unfurl its flag on both the civic bodies.

The 'saffron flag' could include the 'bow and arrow' (Sena's symbol), he told reporters here. Earlier, at a function former MLAs, around 300 workers and corporators from Kalyan-Dombivali and Kolhapur, belonging to Congress, NCP, Shiv Sena and MNS, joined BJP.

These included Shiv Sena-supported corporators of Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC). Danve denied reports of a rift between BJP and Sena, the ruling allies in the state and said his party was hopeful of an honourable seat-sharing agreement.

The local leaders had been authorised to hold the seat sharing talks, he added. Soon, 21 former MLAs and five sitting MLAs could join BJP, he said. Those who joined BJP today included independent MLA Vishwanath Gaikwad from Kalyan, former Congress MLA Dhrupatrao Sawle (Buldhana) and workers of MNS Cine Workers Union cadres.

BJP sources said the move to induct Sena cadres from KDMC was aimed at taking on the Uddhav Thackeray-led party in case an alliance didn't work out. In 2010 KDMC elections, Shiv Sena had won 31 seats out of total 107 and retained control in alliance with BJP which won nine seats.

In Kolhapur, local Sena unit has opposed alliance with the BJP. In 2010, of the 77 seats in Kolhapur corporation, Congress won 31 and came into power.

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