A day after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) launched Mission BMC to dislodge Shiv Sena rule in 2022 elections, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress on Thursday said the ruling MVA proposes to fight the ensuing civic body elections together. The Shiv Sena has already announced that it wants the alliance with new allies –NCP and Congress- continue in the coming BMC elections to defeat its former ruling partner BJP
NCP state chief and Water Resources Minister Jayant Patil took a dig at former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ announcement that BJP will unfurl the saffron flag atop the BMC on its own saying that the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) partners will together contest the ensuing civic body elections and, therefore, BJP will not be able to materialise its dream.
“It is quite natural for Devendra Fadnavis to aim for the BJP rule in the BMC. However, he should not dream of the BJP coming to power on its own in the BMC,” he noted.
“The Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress will sit together and decide at the right time to contest BMC elections. Since we are together in the government, we can contest the BMC elections jointly. BJP's presence in Mumbai is diminishing,’’ said Patil.
Patil’s views were shared by the former MP and Mumbai Regional Congress Committee Working President Eknath Gaikwad. “Maha Vikas Aghadi partners will together fight the BMC elections. Congress is in favour of fighting civic body elections jointly. The present alliance will continue if Congress gets adequate seats,” he said.
Gaikwad snubbed Congress Corporator Ravi Raja who earlier during the day said that the party will independently fight the BMC elections as it does not need any truck with the Shiv Sena. “If somebody is saying that Congress is going solo, then it is his individual opinion,” he said.
Shiv Sena leader and state Transport Minister Anil Parab took a swipe at the BJP. “Mumbai loves the Shiv Sena. Mumbai has loved (Shiv Sena) for the past 25 years. A lot many people came, made a lot of announcements and disappeared. But Mumbai never severed its ties with the Shiv Sena,” Parab said.
Further, Parab said it is only the Shiv Sena which has stood with the people of Mumbai through thick and thin. “The people of Mumbai know whom to support. Let’s see the elections are near, we will know,” he opined.
However, insiders from ruling partners admitted that the Shiv Sena will continue to play a big brother’s role during the seat sharing with NCP and Congress. The Shiv Sena will certainly cash in on alliance with NCP and Congress to consolidate its image to take on BJP.
As far as NCP, the Sharad Pawar-led party hopes to improve its tally by playing a second fiddle to the Shiv Sena. But it will be an acid test for Congress riding piggyback with the Shiv Sena fears losing traditional voters.