With a face-off between the Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), suspense continued on Monday over who would bag the plum post of Mayor of the country’s richest civic body, BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation.
Senior leaders of both sides kept stirring the hot cauldron by asserting that they would bag the BMC’s top post – indicating none was willing to compromise on the issue.
Some peace-brokers suggested equally sharing the post for two-and-half years each, while power brokers threw up several ‘formulae’ to break the deadlock, but the Shiv Sena adopted a “wait and watch” stance.
Party MP and Saamana Executive Editor Sanjay Raut reiterated that the state government of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis “continues to be on notice period” and hinted that everything would be known by March 9, when the Mayoral elections are due.
Senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Narayan Rane dismissed speculation of the party moving a ‘no-confidence motion’ against the BJP-Shiv Sena state government in the upcoming budget session.
“The Shiv Sena will not give up power till it is pushed and thrown out of the government,” Rane said.
His statement came in the wake of some Congress leaders’ musings that the party would consider extending support to the Shiv Sena if it walked out of the BJP-led governments in the Centre and in Maharashtra.
The recent BMC elections threw up an acutely fractured mandate in the 227-member house, which makes it difficult for either the Shiv Sena (84 seats) or BJP (82) to bag the Mayor’s post independently.
They would be compelled to form an alliance between them, or rely on the direct or indirect support of the other major parties like Congress (31), Nationalist Congress Party (nine), Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (seven), Samajwadi Party (six), AIMIM (two), one elected from a local party and independents (five).