The Shiv Sena’s 20-year-old pre-poll tie-up with the BJP in India’s richest civic body has ended. The Sena will contest the February 21 Mumbai civic elections on its own, party president Uddhav Thackeray declared at a party conclave in the city on Republic Day.
He accused the BJP of “backstabbing” his party and declared that he was “not going to go with a begging bowl to anyone”. Mentioning the mass protests over Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu, the Sena president also said “the upcoming polls are a sporting event and the bull (BJP) needs to be tamed once and for all.” He also called the BJP a “goonda” party.
The Sena has been targeting the BJP in the state and at the Centre, its attacks more pronounced after the demonetisation announcement.
The Sena has ruled the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which has a budget of Rs 37,000 crore, since 1997 in alliance with the BJP, which has played junior partner. The BJP this time demanded 114 of the total 227 seats, while the Sena offered its ally in the state and at the Centre only 60 – five less than the BJP had fought in the last civic polls of 2012.
Uddhav said the Sena will also contest polls to nine other civic bodies, including Thane, Pune and Nashik, and 25 zilla parishads on its own steam, triggering speculation on whether the break-up would have implications for the BJP-led state government led by Devendra Fadnavis.
Fadnavis reiterated, “Transparency is our top priority, and with or without anyone we will achieve the goal.”
In a reply to Uddhav’s comments, Fadnavis also tweeted, “Power ain’t our ultimate goal but a medium of development. We will take along those who come with us and leave aside who don’t. Transform is inevitable!”