Mumbai civic polls: Shiv Sena-BJP alliance deadlock likely to end, but egos may remain a challenge

The deadlock over alliance between the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janta Party for the upcoming Brihanmumbai Municipal Election has continued longer than expected. However, the suspense is likely to get over by 6 pm on Thursday when Shiv Sena party chief Uddhav Thackeray will make his final announcement on the party's poll strategy.

Just hours away from the announcement, the Sena party chief is busy assessing the party's strength, meeting the party cadre and listening to the demands of the Shiv Sainiks as well as the views of the corporators, MLAs, MPs and other senior leaders. But what will be his decision? Only Thackeray knows.

 Mumbai civic polls: Shiv Sena-BJP alliance deadlock likely to end, but egos may remain a challenge

Uddhav Thackeray and Devendra Fadnavis

Even Thackeray's eldest son Aditya who is the Yuva Sena chief and wife Rashmi are unaware of Thackeray's decision who is in all likeliness facing the toughest time of his political career since his name was announced as the executive president of Shiv Sena in Mahabaleshwar in 2002. Thackeray has to decide between listening to his party cadres and his inner voice.
The chatter on growing differences between the two parties is not new, but with the Mumbai civic polls right around the corner, it had given rise to lots of speculations. Following which, Thackeray had said that he will speak in detail about whether or not Shiv Sena will form an alliance with the BJP at the office bearers meeting on 26 January.

After the announcement, both sides had gone silent on the topic of alliance so much that senior leaders refused to share even off-the-record details on the topic.

But knowing the suspense around the topic and the impact it will have on the election results, both the rival parties, as well as Sena's current alliance partner BJP, will be eagerly looking forward to hearing the views of the Sena party chief at the meeting which is scheduled to take place at the NSE Complex in Goregaon on Thursday.

According to sources at Shiv Sena Uddhav has always remained positive about an alliance, but the BJP (with which Sena has formed an alliance at the centre as well) hasn’t responded positively.

Incidentally, both parties had three meetings so far but they have not yet discussed a seat-sharing formula.

However, a source informed us that the tussle between Shiv Sena and the BJP over seat sharing was just a play to a political play. "The BJP’s demand for 114 seats is purely pressure tactics on us. So, to teach them a lesson we offered only 60 seats. We also think that the BJP could not continue any dialogue with a figure of 60 seats. If they (BJP) think that they are smart then we are double smart," the source said.

Another source confirmed with the Firstpost that there is no issue on seat ratio, but both parties are yet to decide on the seats to be exchanged. "Ratio will be sorted out in one meeting, but which seats will be exchanged is a very complicated issue and tough for both sides. So, we stopped all dialogues and now Devendra Fadnavis and Uddhav Thackeray will take a final decision on it," he added.

Earlier on Tuesday, BJP's Maharashtra president Raosaheb Danve told media persons that the party is waiting for a proposal and ready to form an alliance with the Shiv Sena. But the Shiv Sena has not sent any new proposals.

According to party sources, the Shiv Sena also ready to form an alliance and increase the number of seats for the BJP from 60 to 85-90, however, the Sena wants Fadnavis to initiate the dialogue between the two parties.

"After Thackeray said that he will announce his decision on 26 January, Fadnavis has not initiated any dialogue between the two parties," a source told Firstpost, adding that without a dialogue the seat ratio could not be increased.

However, while Fadnavis has hinted that alliance is necessary for both parties, he wants to show that the BJP is the number one party. And probably that's why Fadnavis has not called Thackeray even though the 26 January deadline is nearly over.

Considering, most candidates will be busy in submitting forms for the upcoming municipal election from 27 January to 3 February, whatever stand that the Shiv Sena hs to take about the alliance will be declared on Thursday. At this moment, the Shiv Sena needs BJP as an alliance partner to counter Indian National Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in the municipal corporation and Zilla Parishad elections. As for Fadnavis, he knows the party's strength in every district of the state. So, Fadnavis will have to convince party president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi about forming an alliance with the Shiv Sena.

Both Thackeray and Fadnavis know the strength of each other parties. So, if both leaders want to rule the state for the remaining 30 months, then both needs to forget their ego and come together.

Updated Date: Jan 26, 2017 17:37:53 IST