Sena set to retain Mumbai mayor's post

Sena set to retain Mumbai mayor's post

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray (File Photo)

Amid changing political equations and emerging number games, the Shiv Sena is all set to retain the post of Mumbai mayor. 

The BJP has decided to opt-out of the race keeping Shiv Sena in good humour.

The two 30-plus-year-old saffron allies have parted ways after a bitter tussle over the post of chief minister of Maharashtra. The Shiv Sena is now working out an alliance with Congress-NCP to come to power and install its CM and end the President's rule.

The Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is one of the biggest and richest civic bodies of India and the post of mayor is a coveted one. 

The Shiv Sena has been controlling the post since the last 25 years. 

The BMC mayoral polls are scheduled on 22 November. 

In the 227-ward BMC,  the Shiv Sena has a strength of 92 and BJP 82. The Congress has 30 seats,  NCP 9,  Samajwadi Party 6,  AIMIM 2,  MNS 1 and Independents 5.

In 2017,  the Shiv Sena and BJP,  though they were together at state-level, failed to forge an alliance and contested separately.  But,  because of pressure tactics of Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, the BJP had to support Shiv Sena's Prof Vishwanath Mahadeshwar,  whose term is ending now.

Senior BJP leader and former minister Ashish Shelar said that BJP does not have the numerical strength to win mayor's seat.  "We don't have enough numbers but would not tie-up with the opposition.  In 2022,  we would have our mayor with majority numbers," he said. 

The Congress and NCP are yet to take a final call on supporting Shiv Sena but with no BJP candidate, it would sail through. 

The Congress-NCP combine may put up a candidate against BJP for deputy mayor's post. 

It may be mentioned in the September-October Assembly polls, Prof Mahadeshwar embarrassed the party when he lost the assembly elections from Bandra East constituency, the home turf of the Thackeray family. He was pitted in a triangular contest against a Sena rebel Trupti Sawant,  the then sitting MLA,  and the Congress's Zeeshan Siddique, who bagged the seat. In the last two years,  Prof Mahadeshwar has come under fire of the citizens for monsoon woes in Mumbai.

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