Mumbai: Alliance between Shinde camp-MNS on cards? Here's what we know so far

Fearing stitching a direct alliance with anti-North India campaigner MNS, BJP to permit sealing the deal first with the Eknath Shinde-led camp; the state govt wants at least one Thackeray by its side for BMC polls

Sanjay JogUpdated: Tuesday, September 06, 2022, 11:12 PM IST
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Mumbai: Alliance between Shinde camp-MNS on cards? Here's what we know so far | FPJ

The BJP has decided not to stitch a direct alliance with the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). With the resolve to win 150 seats in the BMC elections, party sources said they cannot afford to lose votes of North Indians against whom MNS chief Raj Thackeray has run bitter public campaigns.

However, the BJP and Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde want at least one Thackeray by their side. The plan therefore is to let the Shinde-led camp align with the MNS before integrating the one-MLA party into the government.

The via-media strategy to end the Shiv Sena’s three decades of supremacy in India’s richest civic body is Union home minister Amit Shah’s, who was in the city for the Ganpati festival and to draw up the party’s poll campaign. The BJP’s election planks would be Hindutva, welfare of Marathi manoos, exposing alleged corruption by the Shiv Sena-controlled BMC and Mumbai’s development.

After Shah’s departure on Monday evening, Shinde and his deputy Devendra Fadnavis met at former’s official residence Varsha to discuss a joint strategy comprising an outreach programme and propaganda that Uddhav Thackeray compromised on Hindutva to become the chief minister.

Hinting at a tie-up with the MNS, the Shinde camp’s spokesman Kiran Pawaskar said that it will be a “natural alliance” as Raj Thackeray hasn’t deviated from Hindutva and has fought for the rights of Marathi manoos.

“Another meeting point between the Shinde-led Shiv Sena and MNS is that both parted ways from Uddhav Thackeray on the common cause of Hindutva.”

As for the numbers game, of the total 227 seats, the BJP will leave nearly 75 for the Shinde camp and the MNS, while contesting the rest itself. MP Manoj Kotak will coordinate the poll related activities with city BJP chief Ashish Shelar.

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