After facing corruption charges and the dwindling graph of its popularity, BJP chief minister Devendra Fadnavis is keen to tie up with Shiv Sena in the upcoming Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections scheduled in 2017.
Talking to dna, a senior BJP leader revealed that in the recent meeting between Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and the chief minister Devendra Fadnavis at Matoshree, it has been agreed to cement the pre-poll alliance in the BMC elections. "However, BJP president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are not in favour of making the alliance.
They want to go solo so that the BJP can expand its base and network in local body elections. Besides, they want to single-handedly rule over the financial capital of our country." He added: "Having said that, the BJP's performance in the state is not encouraging and Modi wave has decimated. So, chief minister Fadnavis does not want to take any risk by going solo. Hence, he is ready to cement the alliance."
The leader, who was part of the negotiations, said the BJP was banking on the North Indians and Gujarati community voters, but both are unhappy because of rising inflation and slow market.
"Uddhav also does not want to take the BJP head on. Fadnavis has also developed very good rapport with Uddhav. The chief minister had promised that he would convince his party leadership for making the pre-poll alliance with the Sena in BMC elections. Now, only time will tell how much influence Fadnavis over his leaders. On the other hand, we had already started preparing for all 227 corporation seats. We will be ready with our plan whether the alliance happens or not that we are not much concerned," said a senior Sena minister requesting anonymity. Currently, Shiv Sena has got 88 corporators, Congress 51, BJP 31, MNS 28, NCP 14, Samajwadi Party 8 while remaining independents in the total 227 strength of the BMC.
Another Sena leader added that the chief minister had told Uddhav that the BJP will demand additional 20-25 seats but the Sena should concede to 15. "The primary talk has already happened and progressed in the right direction. But in politics, nothing can be predicted. Things may change at the eleventh hour. During the state assembly elections as well, the BJP was claiming the alliance with Sena is happening. But at the last minute, the alliance plan fizzled out," said a source in Sena, adding that the BJP is now at back-foot over the corruption issue.
"In the recent monsoon session of the state assembly, Fadnavis was defensive to protect his corrupt ministers in house. The BJP got into power with the promise that there will be zero tolerance against corruption. But it started acting completely opposite and that sent out a negative message to the people. Now, the BJP has no moral ground to speak over the corruption. Therefore, they are tying to salvage the situation by making alliance with the Sena, but people will tech them the lesson in the civic elections," said Nawab Malik, the NCP spokesperson.