Maharashtra civic polls: Election dates to be announced soon, but no word on BJP-Sena alliance

After the announcement of the election schedule for five states — Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Uttarakhand and Manipur — the election code of conduct for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will be announced in the next 24 hours. Though the election will be held in 11 municipal corporations, the focus will be on the country's richest civic body — the BMC.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who is busy with the code of conduct, is personally supervising all the meetings related to the infrastructural projects under these municipal bodies and has moved the weekly Cabinet meeting to Monday instead of Tuesday.

The current term of the Mumbai, Thane, Bhiwandi-Nijampur, Ulhasnagar, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Nashik, Akola, Solapur, Amravati, Nagpur civic bodies will end by March 2017, therefore, the State Election Commission (SEC) is planning to hold the election before 15 March. Moreover, the HSC examinations will be held between 28 February and 25 March and SSC exams between 7 March and 29 March. There is a possibility that the municipal polls will be scheduled for the last week of February. In 2012, the BMC election were held on 16 February and the new House of the BMC was formed on 8 March.

 Maharashtra civic polls: Election dates to be announced soon, but no word on BJP-Sena alliance

The electoral roll for the BMC and other municipal corporations as on 1 January has been updated on the EC website. State Election Commissioner (SEC) JS Saharia told Firstpost that due to the SSC and HSC exams, the SEC is planning to hold the civic body elections in February. Discussions regarding the election have been held with the collector and commissioner and the dates will be announced anytime now, he said. He added that the entire election process will be completed before 8 March.

Last Thursday, the BJP-led government decided to relax the terms for redevelopment of old buildings on Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) layouts. Cluster development in the city and suburbs was also announced by Fadnavis. Apart from monitoring work on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project and Mumbai-Nagpur corridor, bhumi pujan ceremony was performed of the first phase of the Pune metro project and Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave major push to a host of infrastructural projects including the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link project (MTHL).

The ruling party in the BMC, Shiv Sena and BJP, have not announced an alliance yet for the BMC polls. Both the parties have prepared a list of probable candidates in 227 wards. Shiv Sena secretary and Rajya Sabha MP Anil Desai told Firstpost that Shiv Sena wants alliance in every corporation, not a selected few. "If they (BJP) agree, then we will form an alliance, or else we are ready to go solo. Our preparations have already started," he said.  

BJP, on the other hand, also prepared a list of of 227 candidates and submitted to Fadnavis. The Maharashtra chief minister and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray share a cordial relationship. In the last one month, they have shared the public dais four times. Both the leaders are willing to tie up for the BMC polls, but the final decision has not been made, said sources from the BJP.

Mumbai BJP president and MLA Ashish Shelar and MP Kirit Somaiya are opposing the alliance. Shelar, who has strong support in the BMC and the Maharashtra Assembly, has been taking a dig at the Shiv Sena's style of functioning at the BMC. The Mumbai BJP unit believes that the party's support has grown and they should go for more than 100 seats in the BMC.

In 2012, Shiv Sena contested 158 seats and won 75, whereas BJP contested 69 seats and won 32.

Updated Date: Jan 10, 2017 00:21:11 IST