Mumbai: Three of the constituents of the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) in the state, the Congress, the Shiv Sena and the Samajwadi Party (SP) are set to lock horns in the upcoming Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation bypolls in the Mankhurd-Shivaji Nagar constituency on January 9.

The Sena has fielded three-time Congress corporator Vitthal Lokare, who had quit the party in April to join the Sena. The Congress has nominated sitting corporator Altaf Qazi while the Samajwadi Party has fielded first-time candidate Jameer Khan, while the Bharatiya Janata Party has fielded Dinesh Panchal.

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has refrained from fielding any candidate. However, NCP legislator from Chembur and spokesperson Nawab Malik has said, his party is yet to take a final call on whom it will support and whether it will field a candidate in the upcoming poll.

“We are yet to finalise our stand, NCP didn’t field a candidate from the constituency in 2017 as we were supporting the Congress. But this year, we have to have a few more discussions before taking the final call,” said Malik.

The NCP leader also mentioned, the result of the civic polls will not affect the MVA, as the political algorithm in the state government is different from the civic elections.

Meanwhile, the Samajwadi Party leader and sitting legislator of Mankhurd-Shivaji Nagar, Abu Azmi said his party was contesting the civic bypoll out of compulsion and not by choice.

“I am compelled to field a candidate for the civic bypolls as I am the sitting MLA of the constituency and have five sitting corporators from my party. However, I am sure this will not affect our alliance, regardless of the result,” said Azmi.

The SP leader asserted, his party’s participation was also an attempt to keep out the BJP.

“I strongly support our Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. But we also need to understand, our vote banks are different, and those who used to vote for us will not suddenly shift their support,” added Azmi.

Meanwhile there has been rising speculation that the Sena may withdraw its candidate, to support the Congress. Responding to this, Azmi stated, the Sena mustn’t withdraw its candidature because this would prove to advantageous to the BJP.

“The Sena shouldn’t withdraw its candidate. This will help the BJP, hence it is important for all the MVA parties to make sure the BJP is kept out of power,” Azmi stated.

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