The high-pitched political tussle in Maharashtra is far from over. With the appointment of Eknath Sambhaji Shinde as the state CM, BJP has hinted that it wants to completely oust the present Thackeray family from the political circle. The successful rebellion within Shiv Sena has busted the myth of invincibility of the present generations of Thackerays. But the real existential crisis for Uddhav Thackeray has just begun. He has two major fires to douse – the first is to quash CM Eknath Shinde’s claim on Shiv Sena; the Second, is to reclaim the cash-rich Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). But that seems to be highly unlikely. All things are pointing in one direction, that soon BMC will be governed by the saffron alliance of BJP and Shinde Sena.
New ‘Red flags’ for Uddhav Thackeray
Uddhav Thackeray’s political troubles are far from over. The ideological betrayal is proving too costly for him. After the mass exodus of Shiv Sena MLAs, party corporators and ex-corporators are leaving the sinking ship of the now defunct Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. To strengthen the Hindutva ideology, corporators are joining the Shinde camp as CM Eknath Shinde had claimed to revive the real legacy of the late Balasaheb Thackeray.
Evidently, in a move to show solidarity for Hindutva ideology, 66 ex-corporators from Thane met CM Eknath Shinde at his residence, ‘Nandanvan’. Shiv Sena had the strength of 67 corporators in the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC). All the 66 corporators extended their support to CM Eknath Shinde. Additionally, 32 ex-corporators of Navi Mumbai met CM Shinde to extend their support and strengthen CM’s claim over the Balasaheb’s ideology and party, Shiv Sena.
CORRECTION | Maharashtra: Shiv Sena's 32 ex-corporators* of Navi Mumbai met CM Shinde in Thane y'day & extended their support
They say, "We'll be with him. He never declined anybody's phone call. Even if an ordinary party worker calls him up, he receives the call. It feels good" pic.twitter.com/UoVm1kDASd
— ANI (@ANI) July 8, 2022
With these new developments, Uddhav Thackeray is fast losing political battles at the ground level. Municipal corporations are slipping fast from his clutches. But the biggest jolt for Uddhav Thackeray will be a humiliating loss in BMC.
What is all this hype about Shiv Sena and BMC?
Since 1971, Shiv Sena has been a dominant force in the Mumbai civic body. Shiv Sena has elected 21 mayors since 1971. Shiv Sena has governed BMC both as an independent and as a dominant partner in an alliance with BJP. The Shiv Sena has ruled the BMC for over 25 years with the support of the BJP, and now independently.
The Shiv Sena came to power in the BMC back in 1985, but it was in 1996 that it gained complete dominance over the civic body. It is important to note that BMC is the country’s richest civic body, with a total strength of 227-member. Many political experts have termed BMC as a cash cow for the Shiv Sena for decades. Additionally, the main reason for Shiv Sena’s complete dominance in Mumbai is also traced to its rule on the BMC.
Mumbai is said to be the Karmabhoomi as well as Janambhoomi for the Shiv Sena. The party has a strong presence of cadres in every street of Mumbai. Since 1996, the Shiv Sena has never gone out of power from the civic body. It has consistently won the BMC polls since 1997.
|BMC Election Year||Seats won by Shiv Sena|
But, it is also a fact that its strength has been on a declining trend. In the 2017 BMC elections itself, the BJP gave Shiv Sena a run for its money. In a close fight, it fell just 2-seat sort of Shiv Sena. With 84 seats to Shiv Sena and 82 seats to BJP, the Mumbaikars had in a way stamped their verdict in favour of the Hindutva and Saffron parties, BJP-Shiv Sena. This is also a worrying factor for the Thackeray faction, as it is to be blamed completely for ditching the Hindutva cause and stitching an unholy alliance with parties accused of indulging in appeasement politics. So, a humiliating loss for Uddhav Thackeray will mean a definite full stop to his political career.
When are the BMC elections and how will they become saffronised?
The highly anticipated elections for BMC were delayed to incorporate the changes, so as to give more political representation to the Other Backward castes (OBCs). But the recent reports are claiming that the high-stake BMC elections are likely to be over by the end of this year. The two larger parties of the residual Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance have decided to go solo in the upcoming BMC elections. This leaves Uddhav Thackeray’s camp in a tight spot. It is struggling to gasp political air for itself let alone the chance to stitch a majority in the civic body.
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On the contrary, the saffron alliance of the BJP and Shinde camp is gaining more support every other day. More MLAs, MPs, corporators, and ex-corporators are joining their already strong camp. Further, the track record of last many elections has shown that the people of Mumbai and Maharashtra are stamping their verdict in favour of the saffron party-led ‘Hindutva’ coalition. The downward trend of Shiv Sena and the upward trend of BJP in BMC and Maharashtra clearly points to that. Shiv Sena’s downward trajectory started at the time when it started going soft on Hindutva and started aligning with secular parties. So, a revival of old Balasaheb’s Shiv Sena will revive the trust of Mumbaikars and BMC will be truly saffronised under the able leadership of Pro-Hindutva duo – Eknath Shinde and Devendra Fadnavis.
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