Mumbai: Congress must fight BMC polls on its own, say city leaders
Majority feels seat sharing will be an issue if there is an alliance of the MVA partners for 2022 municipal polls, wants no further delay in changing the MRCC leadership
While the Shiv Sena, NCP and SP are willing to forge an alliance for the upcoming Mumbai civic polls, most local Congress leaders want the party to go solo and are expecting the high command to give them a city president who can bolster the party.
Even before the Bihar poll debacle, city Congress leaders had been demanding that the party does not side with the Sena and other Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) partners -- Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) -- in the municipal polls slated for January-February 2022. Despite being a part of the MVA, the Congress with 29 seats has been sitting in the Opposition in the 227-seat BMC.
The SP also has grievances against the Sena in the BMC, but the party is reportedly in favour of a pre-poll alliance, just to keep the BJP away. Interestingly, the SP has ruled out an alliance with the Congress in Uttar Pradesh.
However, the Congress has raised concerns of seat sharing if the ruling parties attempt an alliance in the BMC as well, because strength-wise, the Sena is much ahead of the prospective partners, who could together take on the BJP. The Sena and the BJP competed very closely in 2017, and the latter promises to oust the former ruling partner both in the BMC and state.
“Most of us fear the seat share that the Congress would get could wipe out the party’s existence in most of the municipal wards. Where will our ward level leaders and workers go?” a senior Congress leader asked. He added that fighting municipal elections on own party symbol in maximum wards is important to stay in public memory.
Congress should be prepared
The leader said the talks were based on the assumption that the MVA partners stick together till 2022. “We’re not sure what will happen next as far as stability of the state government is concerned. We feel the Congress should be prepared well in advance to face any situation.”
Dr Amarjit Singh Manhas, one of the hot favourites for leading the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC), met with the other contender Bhai Jagtap at a meeting with the state in-charge from All India Congress Committee, H K Patil, on Tuesday. The two discussed various organisational and political aspects with Patil.
Patil also met other contenders for the top post and sought the opinion of former legislators, former MRCC chiefs, presidents of youth, women and student wings, national office bearers, city corporators and opposition leader in the BMC Ravi Raja. Sources said the majority felt that the Congress should fight the BMC polls on its own and get like-minded small parties, if any, to share seats wherever possible.
Patil was in the city to preside over a signature campaign against the controversial agriculture bills the Congress has decided to counter by making a law in Maharashtra.
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