BJP bows out, Sena to govern BMC

BJP bows out, Sena to govern BMC

In a surprise political development on Saturday that cooled tempers in the 25-year-old saffron alliance in Maharashtra, the BJP decided not to contest the Mumbai mayoral poll, making way for the Shiv Sena to occupy the seat of first citizen.

Three-time corporator, Prof Vishwanath Mahadeshwar of the Shiv Sena, is set to become the new Mayor of Mumbai.

The BJP bowed out after it found itself unable to make a clean sweep and a series of back-channel talks between emissaries of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray. On Friday night, Fadnavis and Thackeray spoke over the phone briefly.

The move will ensure that the Shiv Sena allows the Fadnavis-led government to run smoothly. The Shiv Sena, in turn, gets to run the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

In the 227-member BMC, the Shiv Sena leads the tally with 84 plus 4 Independents, BJP 82 plus support of Akhil Bharatiya Sena, Congress (31), NCP (9), MNS (7), Samajwadi Party (6), AIMIM (2) and Independent (1).

Speaking to reporters, Fadnavis said the mandate has been for transparency.
 
“We cannot ignore that...since no party has got majority, we are not going to do any addition, subtraction... we will not compromise on transparency,” he said, adding that his party would not contest the Mayoral elections.

“We are not going to contest for the post of Mayor or for that matter Deputy Mayor...on Standing Committees, both Sena and BJP will have 10 members each...but we are not going to bid for chairmanship, same holds good for Improvements Committee, Health Committee and BEST chairman...we will not claim the post of Leader of Opposition either,” Fadnavis said. In case Shiv Sena needs support in terms of members, we will support them, he added.

Fadnavis said a three-member committee of former bureaucrats Ramnath Jha, Gautam Chatterjee and Sharad Kale would look into the issue of transparency and file a report. The government also proposes to have a Deputy Lok Ayukta, especially for Mumbai, he said. Fadnavis spiked rumours about the stability of his government.

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