Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray is expected to clear his party’s stand on the pre-poll pact with BJP for the upcoming BMC polls during a meeting with cadres at Goregaon here. Although senior Sena leaders were tight-lipped about the fate of an alliance, most of party cadres are said to be opposed to any tie-up with the BJP. “It will be very difficult for Uddhavji to override the stiff opposition from party cadres and stitch an alliance with BJP,” party sources said.
If the alliance breaks down in Mumbai, any alignment with BJP for the remaining nine municipal corporations and 25 Zilla Parishads is highly unlikely, they said. Sources in Sena said all party ministers, MPs, MLAs, MLCs, corporators, vibhag pramukhs, sampark pramukhs and allied frontal organisations have been instructed to remain present in the rally at the Bombay Exhibition Centre in Goregaon .
Suspense also continues on whether Thackeray and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis would meet for one last time to hammer out a pre-poll alliance. Parallel to the Sena rally, state BJP president Raosaheb Danve will be addressing the party’s youth wing at the Mumbai office in Dadar. BJP sources said Chief Minister Fadnavis is likely to address members on January 28 at the venue where the Sena chief will be addressing workers tomorrow.
“The BJP leadership is likely to frame it’s response based on what Thackeray tells Sena cadres,” sources said.
Shiv Sena and BJP leaders had held a few rounds of talks to workout an alliance for the BMC polls on February 21. While BJP has demanded 114 seats, Sena has offered 60 seats to its ally. Meanwhile, BJP has dismissed reports appearing in a section of media that gag orders were issued to party ministers and leaders not to criticise Sena leadership.