Even though BJP and MNS have not formally made any announcement of forming an alliance for the BMC elections, the saffron party leaders are not completely denying any truck between two parties. MNS may be BJP’s preferred ally especially after it has turned saffron.
The BJP on Wednesday launched Mission BMC 2022 to unseat Shiv Sena. Leader of opposition in the state council Praveen Darekar and BJP’s in charge for the ensuing civic body elections Atul Bhatkhalkar reiterated that as on date the party wants to go solo and unfurl saffron atop BMC.
"Right now, we are ready to fight on our own, but we will decide at the time of elections whether to take MNS with us or not," said Darekar. He, however, claimed that Shiv Sena and NCP have worked out a plan to make the Congress party non relevant in the state.
On the other hand, Bhatkhalkar said, "The flag will be ours and the stick will be ours, so there is no doubt that BJP’s saffron flag will be unfurled atop BMC in the coming elections.’’
The BJP, which had contested BMC elections held in 2017 independently, had later supported the Shiv Sena. However, after the Assembly elections, the BJP and Shiv Sena parted ways. Currently, they are engaged in one-up manship. The BJP will make every effort to reach out not just Marathi Manoos but non-Marathi speaking voters to get the majority. However, the party is not averse to take MNS along based on the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi’s game plan.
As far as MNS is concerned, early this year the Raj Thackray-led party embraced Hindutva ideology and unveiled a saffron flag for the party. The MNS also sought eviction of Bangladeshi and Pakistani Muslims from the country. Further, it also indicated support to the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC). The MNS will not mind joining hands with BJP and playing second fiddle, as both have common goal to end Shiv Sena rule in India's richest civic body.