Mumbai : Congress leader and former Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan today said the BJP and Shiv Sena will be contesting the Mumbai municipal elections in 2017 separately, particularly in view of the “vested interest” of the “Gujarati leadership” of BJP.”This is not a prediction. My information is based on the thinking in the BJP that Maharashtra power is incomplete without Mumbai. This is the view of the BJP leadership, particularly of Gujarati leadership which has a vested interest in Mumbai,” Chavan said.
“That is why, they feel that both the state and a significant municipal corporation like Mumbai, should be with BJP without an alliance or anything,” the Congress leader
said. “That is the view. That’s what they would like to do. If they retain good, happy, friendly relations (with Sena), probably they would do that. Otherwise they will like to go alone,” Chavan said.
“This was the view of senior BJP leadership sometime back. They talked amongst themselves and said they must get Mumbai also,” he added. “Now, with BJP slipping very fast, what they will do at that time one doesn’t know, but I am willing to bet that
they will part ways ahead of BMC elections. “Of course, this is a prognosis, a political analysis. I think they will separate three-four months ahead of Mumbai civic poll,” he said.
“However, the state government won’t fall. They will let the government continue. Sena will take up the role of the opposition and will keep away from any negativity attached to BJP. There is a huge negativity for BJP, particularly over the ‘dal’ crisis which BJP has mishandled,” Chavan said. Sena will continue to criticise the BJP-led government for mishandling the crisis. It will blame all the negativity on BJP and claim credit for the good things, he said.
“Bihar election results will be a major landmark in the journey to the point of separation. If BJP does badly in Bihar, they will be a little more cautious and not so
aggressive,” Chavan said. Visits by top BJP leaders to NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s
home turf Baramati is a signal to the Sena to fall in line, Chavan said.