As political parties gear up for the upcoming elections at the 10 municipal corporations across Maharasthra, the civic polls will also reflect on how the people of the state has accepted the Smart City mission undertaken by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led central and state government. While local issues like drinking water, roads and garbage are generally the key issues for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had pitched massive projects as an integral part of the poll across areas like Mumbai, Thane, Ulhasnagar, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Solapur, Akola, Amaravati, Nagpur and Nashik.
With mega projects like Rs 1.06 lakh crore projects for Mumbai, a Rs 3,500-crore drinking water project for Akola, the Rs 3,700-crore textile hub in Amaravati, or the Rs 11,500-crore Metro Rail project in Pune, the ruling BJP has made development the key focus of their campaign. Moreover, other major political parties like Congress, NCP, Shiv Sena and MNS has also taken the flow to pitch development as their principal agenda during campaign.
However, winning just 205 seats in the ten cities, among a total of 1,244 seats in 2012, BJP will be facing major challenges in the upcoming polls, especially as their alliance with the Shiv Sena broke days back. BJP has a clear stronghold in Nagpur but questions remain on whether they will come victorious in the other 9 cities.
On 26th January, Uddhav Thackeray announced that the party will not go for an alliance with the BJP in the upcoming civic polls. Ruling out the possibility of a pre-poll pact with BJP, he further alleged that the saffron has hired ‘gundas’ (goons) in the party as they can’t fight against the Shiv Sena ‘sainiks’. Thackeray further asserted that they will win the civic polls easily. He stated that the party has wasted 25 years because of alliance with other parties, in the 50 years of Sena.