In a major setback for Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), six out of seven Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). corporators from the party defected to its arch-rival Shiv Sena on Friday.
In the 21 February BMC election, MNS had secured seven seats in the 227-member civic body, while Shiv Sena and BJP had secured 84 and 82 seats respectively. With this, Shiv Sena's strength has increased substantially in the BMC taking its tally to 93 including support from three independent corporators, whereas BJP now has 84 corporators including support from two independents.
Seven MNS corporators were elected to the civic body in February and included Archana Bhalerao, Parmeshwar Tukaram Kadam, Ashwini Matekar, Sanjay Turde, Harshala Ashish More, Ashish Chemburkar, Dattaram Shivaram Narvankar. All except Sanjay Turde have joined Shiv Sena.
This shift in guards in the BMC is likely to impact the BJP's plans, which was hoping to elect its own mayor next. BJP leaders Ashish Shelar and Kirit Somaiya had earlier claimed that the next mayor will be from BJP, but with the six corporators moving to BMC, the balance now weighs towards Shiv Sena.
This news has come hours after Somaiya, a BJP MP, indirectly accused its ally Shiv Sena of pressurising Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) corporators in BMC to join the Sena to bolster its position in the civic body.
Somaiya, in his letter, addressed to the Maharashtra State Election Commission and Kokan Revenue Commission alleged that a major political party in BMC is indulging in corrupt practice of bribing few corporators by paying crores.
He further urged the State Election Commission to take stringent steps against such malpractices which go against the democratic process of elections. In his letter, Somaiya did not mention the name of a political party neither did he list the names of the corporators who would join Shiv Sena.
However, in a video released by Somaiya, he openly accused Shiv Sena of taking MNS corporators in their custody by paying them a bribe of Rs 3 crore each.
This news comes a day after the Shiv Sena lost the Bhandup bypolls that led to a war of words between the saffron allies, with BJP threatening to pull the rug from under Sena’s feet by challenging its numero uno position in the civic body, Hindustan Times had reported.
Following the elections on 21 February this year, Shiv Sena and BJP had formed an alliance. It would be interesting to see how this plays out in BMC with Sena now having support of 93 corporators.
Addressing a press conference at Matoshree, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said that the corporators have returned home. "Some of these corporators were in Shiv Sena. They had lost their way. They have willingly joined the party for the welfare of Mumbai and the Marathi manoos," he said.
Earlier on Friday, MNS had approached the Konkan divisional commissioner opposing the move by some of its corporators to register themselves as a separate unit. MNS is registered with the Konkan divisional commissioner.
As per the post-election procedure, every party has to register itself as a group with a list of corporators with the divisional commissioner.
Shelar took a jibe at Shiv Sena stating that the party is very upset with its performance in Bhandup by-election, alleging that Shiv Sena indulged in break-up politics to retain its mayorship. He tweeted:
भाजपाच्या भांडूपमधील विजयाचा एवढा धसका! केवढी धावाधाव, जुळवाजुळव आणि पळवापळव!! अजूनही हा बार फुसकाच आहे म्हणा...
— ashish shelar (@ShelarAshish) October 13, 2017
With inputs from Sanjay Sawant
Updated Date: Oct 14, 2017 15:41 PM