Congress leaders divided over the issue of supporting Sena for mayoral post

by Web Desk | Updated: 2017-02-27

The hung mandate in the civic body polls have become another reason for the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to lock horns, as this time both the parties have come face-to-face over the Mayoral post. This has led to chaos in city’s political corridors with speculations over the chances of possible alliances.
With Sena and BJP showing no sign of coming together and setting up a ‘saffron’ government in the Rs 37,000 crore civic body, it would be interesting as to whom would Sena pitch for support.
Will Sena take support of the Congress Party which has bagged 31 corporators or would Thackeray cousins come together and force BJP to occupy the opposition seats?
Raj Thackeray, president of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), can become the game changer in this issue with his seven corporators along with the other independent ones.
Going by the grapevine, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has appointed Rahul Shewale as his ‘messenger’ to have a dialogue with Congress and seek support to claim majority in the civic body.
Moreover, the Thackeray family’s official residence ‘Matoshree’ that is considered as the power house of State politics, is said to be in constant touch with Congress state president Ashok Chavan. It is said that Chavan has been approached and is being convinced by the Sena to support it in the civic body.
So now all the eyes are on Congress party but the party is expected to open its cards only after March 8. “The last phase of Uttar Pradesh (UP) polls would end on March 8 and the Congress party will not reveal the game plans as it fears that this can adversely affect their political equations in UP polls. This is because UP has a majority of Muslims voters and tying up with Sena can result in the Congress party losing the Muslim vote bank completely,” said an insider from Congress.
According to sources, there is a difference of opinion amongst state Congress leaders with Gurudas Kamath, Sanjay Nirupam being against any alliance with the saffron parties. However, senior leaders like Narayan Rane are said to be in favour of Congress’ pact with Sena.

However, the picture about who would be setting up government in BMC and who would be the Mayor, will get clear only by March 9, the date when parties will have to claim majority. Therefore, the Congress party has enough time to decide whether to support Sena in civic body or to sit in opposition.