Ahead of the upcoming elections to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), a crack in Shiv Sena-BJP alliance in Maharashtra has threatened the stability of state government as well. On Thursday, Sena decided to fight in the BMC polls alone. Justifying the decision, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said, “In 50 years of Sena, 25 years were wasted because of the alliance. We are not greedy for power. I am not worried about the BMC elections, we will win all the elections I am sure.”
“Shiv Sena will keep the saffron flag flying in the state alone. It will not knock the doors of any political party for an alliance,” he added. If Thackeray sticks to his words, the decision to go solo may help his party in the long run. He may even find some inspiration from several states of India where regional parties have successfully cemented their power and appeal by going solo.
The split ahead of the BMC election, hence, is not aimed at destabilising the state government but to gain supremacy over power in Mumbai as well as Maharashtra. Sena leader Sanjay Raut today made it clear that the alliance between two parties will remain at the state government level. “We don’t want to destabilise Maharashtra. Therefore we will have to keep the alliance in the state government for some time,” he was quoted as saying ANI.
Ruled by Sena at present, the BMC is considered to be Asia’s richest civic body. Thackeray’s decision to go solo is also a trial of survival, especially when BJP has become a dominant partner in Maharashtra. According to political observers, the BMC elections will now become a Shiv Sena versus BJP battle.
In Maharashtra, Sena feels threatened not just by its diminishing popularity but also the rising graph of BJP. Even as there were speculations that BJP would fail badly because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation, Amit Shah-led party has performed exceptionally well in recently concluded civic bodies polls in the state.