Navi Mumbai polls to be litmus test for MVA and BJP

Navi Mumbai polls to be litmus test for MVA and BJP

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (C) gestures along with Hindu right-wing party Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray (R) and Chief Minister of the state Devendra Fadnavis (L) as they attend a public rally in the run up to the Maharashtra state assembly elections, in Mumbai on October 18, 2019. (AFP Photo)

The civic polls in the satellite township of Navi Mumbai is going to be a litmus test for both the BJP and the newly-formed Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance. 

The 111-seat Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) polls is scheduled to be held in April.

The NMMC elections would be a sort of precursor to the 2022 civic elections when civic polls would be held in urban areas of Mumbai, Thane,  Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Nashik,  Nagpur among others.

BJP has already started preparations and holding its state-executive meetings and conventions over the weekend in Nerul in Navi Mumbai. 

On Sunday, BJP national president JP Nadda will address party leaders and workers besides Devendra Fadnavis, his counterpart in Council Praveen Darekar, state BJP president Chandrakant Patil among others.

This is the first important meeting of the BJP's Maharashtra unit after they lost power in the state and its 30-year-old ally Shiv Sena walked away to form government with NCP-Congress.

For MVA leader and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and NCP supremo Sharad Pawar,  the Navi Mumbai polls are a matter of prestige.

Ahead of Vidhan Sabha polls, Pawar's close aide Ganesh Naik left and joined the BJP.

Besides, another factor that cannot be discounted in these elections is Uddhav's estranged cousin and MNS president Raj Thackeray has adopted aggressive Hindutva alongside his agenda of welfare of 'Marathi manoos'.

The Aam Aadmi Party too is expected to contest the civic polls in the urban pockets. In Navi Mumbai, there is going to be some political churning - and BJP is not leaving any stones unturned. 

When Naik switched over from NCP to BJP,  50-odd corporators left and joined the latter. But after the fractured mandate in state polls, BJP lost power.

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