BMC Election 2017: What's next for the Shiv Sena and Uddhav Thackeray?

On Thursday, the Shiv Sena emerged as the Number One party in the city, albeit narrowly. The party picked up 84 seats, which is two more than the second largest party, the BJP, managed. However, to achieve the magic figure of 114 seats that is required for a majority in the BMC, the party needs 30 more seats.

BMC Polls Seats won in 2017 Seats won in 2012 Difference Percentage change
BJP 82 31 +51 +164.5%
Shiv Sena 84 75 +9 +12%
Congress 31 52 -21 -40.4%
NCP 9 13 -4 -30.8%
MNS 7 28 -21 -75%
Others 14 13 +1 +7.7%

Just like the Assembly and Kalyan-Dombivali Municipal Corporation elections, both  parties came together to form post-poll alliances. The other option is to take the support of the Congress. Adding the Sena's 84 seats to the 31 won by the Congress takes the tally to 115, which is one seat more than Uddhav Thackeray's party needs to have a majority. As unimaginable as this scenario might seem in the present context, it wouldn't be the first time that the Sena reached out to India's Grand Old Party.

In the past, the Shiv Sena has taken support from the Muslim League and Congress. And when the late Congress leader Murli Deora won the mayoral post in Mumbai, he did so with the help of the Shiv Sena.

Shiv Sena supporters celebrate their party's performance in the BMC election. Firstpost/Akshay Jagtap

Shiv Sena supporters celebrate their party's performance in the BMC election. Firstpost/Akshay Jagtap

The Sena can also poach the elected corporators of the Samajwadi Party (six) and AIMIM (two). In addition, there are four Independent corporators, two of whom have already pledged support to the Sena. But it would be impossible to even make up the numbers with only the smaller parties and Independents. It would be logical to take Congress support and win the mayoral post.

No alliances or feuds are for life in politics, so it could be very interesting to see if the new Mumbai Congress president and Marathi face Bhai Jagtap can convince the party high command about a potential Shiv Sena-Congress alliance. It would be a massive gain for the Congress that has been out of power in the BMC for the past two decades. This is a golden opportunity to wrest power in the BMC.

Uddhav is reluctant to join hands with the BJP once again. In fact, on Thursday, the Sena supremo has hinted that the next mayor will be from the Shiv Sena, as will the next chief minister. There's a strong sense that Uddhav is unwilling to attempt a patch-up with the BJP. That said, the party's strategy will be worked out over the next two days after strategists Anil Desai, Sanjay Raut, Anil Parab and Milind Narvekar put together a plan. It is believed that they will also act as the party's negotiators when it comes to trying to forge alliances with other parties.

One school of thought is that given the fractured mandate given by Mumbaikars, joining forces with the BJP is the most obvious thing for the Shiv Sena to do. After all, the parties are allies in the state and at the Centre, so why not in the BMC?

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Updated Date: Feb 24, 2017 12:32:19 IST

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