Devendra Fadnavis clears the deck for BJP alliance with Shiv Sena for zilla parishad, civic polls

Mumbai: After the thumping victory of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the municipal council and president elections in Maharashtra, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is keen to go ahead with the alliance with the party's natural ally Shiv Sena in the coming elections for the zilla parishad and corporation polls.

"The chief minister has informed the BJP in the state at all levels that there would be an alliance with the Shiv Sena and the talks on seat sharing will start from Wednesday," Maharashtra Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar told Firstpost on Tuesday.

 Devendra Fadnavis clears the deck for BJP alliance with Shiv Sena for zilla parishad, civic polls

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray with Devendra Fadnavis. PTI file image

On Monday, Fadnavis reportedly told one of his cabinet colleagues that, "The council election victory is purely a reflection on the demonetisation and the development work which we did in the last 26 months. So we should now gear up for the 26 zilla parishad and 11 municipal corporation elections which will be held during February-March."

The chief minister further said, "After demonetisation, Maharashtra stood with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The people of the state are with the prime minister and the BJP. Now once again we have to show that the people both from the rural and urban areas are with us. That's there is a need for an alliance between the two parties for the zilla parishad and municipal corporation elections. It's the semifinal round and I am confident that we will win both the semifinal and the final too."

Talking to Firstpost a guardian minister said that in a late night meeting of Monday Fadnavis showed positiveness to forge an alliance with the Shiv Sena. The minister said that the chief minister personally convinced BJP national president Amit Shah and Modi that the alliance with the Shiv Sena is necessary for the council election.

"Fadnavis won the confidence of Shah and Modi after the initial round of polls. The chief minister has made it clear that since the BJP is not in good numbers in all the places it would be easier for the party if an alliance with the Shiv Sena happens. This would help the party to increase its numbers in the zilla parishads and municipal corporations. The city in charge and the guardian minister concerned would work together and finalise the seat sharing formula. Next week we are meeting once again and now there is no double mind on an alliance with the Shiv Sena," the minister, unwilling to be named, said.

The election to the 26 zilla parishads and 11 municipal corporations are round the corner and the State Election Commission could announce the schedule anytime bringing the Model Code of Conduct into immediate effect.

Earlier MP and Shiv Sena secretary Anil Desai told Firstpost that the party wants an alliance in the ensuing zilla parishad and municipal corporation elections provided the BJP is keen on it.

Of late, signs of a thaw are appearing between Fadnavis and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray as the two leaders are in favour of an alliance and have stopped exchanging barbs.

"It's very much important to see how the seat sharing formula will come up," said Desai.

In 2012, Shiv Sena contested in 158 seats and BJP in 69. However, in the 2014 Assembly poll out of 36 constituencies, BJP won in 15 and Shiv Sena 14. Owing to that performance, BJP is seeking a 50:50 distribution of seats.

"An 114:113 seat sharing is not possible out the total 227 corporation seats that are going into the fray. We are ready to increase the number of seats to the BJP but not 45 seats more than the last time. The final decision will be taken by Uddhav Thackeray," said the Shiv Sena leader.

After four phases of local council elections in Maharashtra, the total of BJP seats jumped thrice compared to the last election. In 2012, BJP had 407 corporators while this has already jumped to 1,207. This is a quantum leap by 809 seats. The BJP is also leading in the race by winning more posts for the council president. Out of 199 council president posts, BJP won 78 seats compared to 36 of the Congress, 26 of the Shiv Sena, 21 of the Nationalist Congress Party and with Others-Independents winning 38.

Meanwhile, after refusing to go for an alliance in the last two occasions Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray said that his party is open for an alliance although no further details were divulged.

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Updated Date: Jan 10, 2017 22:40:10 IST