Fractured mandate opens options

Fractured mandate opens options
The Shiv Sena and BJP are quite a distance away from the magic figure of 114 in the 227-ward Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the biggest civic body of Asia, which was handed out a fractured mandate on Thursday.

However, with the Shiv Sena at 84 and the BJP at 82, it has thrown open multiple possibilities and permutations and combinations.

For the Shiv Sena, it is going to be the call of its president Uddhav Thackeray, while Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis — the architect of the BJP’s landslide victory in the civic elections — may have to consult Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.

According to The Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act – “Mayor means the Mayor of the Corporation elected by the elected councillors from amongst themselves under section 37IB.” Hence, the fate of the new mayor depends entirely on the new corporators. However, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) rules clearly specify that any party candidate who secures the maximum votes from the electorate (comprising councillors, local MPs, MLAs and MLCs) is eligible to become the mayor.

“The people’s mandate is clear... both the parties need to come together... that is more logical and practical,” according to veteran journalist and political analyst Prakash Akolkar, who was the first to write the biography of the Shiv Sena.

To reach the figure of 114, the Shiv Sena needs 30 more seats while the BJP needs 32. “This has made the situation critical... such a block is with the Congress that has won 31 seats,” a senior politician said, adding that the Congress is ideologically different from the BJP and the Shiv Sena. “There is no question of the Congress supporting the BJP, but there is a chance of the Congress indirectly supporting the Sena to prevent BJP grabbing the mayor’s seat," said a political analyst.

As far as the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena is concerned, it has won 7 seats, but which side Raj Thackeray would go is anybody’s guess. “Before the polls, Raj had dialled Uddhav seven times looking for a possible tie-up, but the latter did not pick the call... on the other hand the one-time admirer of Modi for the Gujarat model has become one of his harshest critics,” a political observer said.

The MNS and the NCP (9 seats) together form a bloc of 16 — and that is way short.Among the 14 others include three from Hyderabad-based Owaisi-brothers’ Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) — and they are unlikely to support either the BJP or the Shiv Sena.
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