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As Chandrakant Patil rules out alliance with MNS for BMC polls, BJP appears divided

Party insiders said that while a section believes that an alliance with MNS will help BJP dent Shiv Sena's vote share in at least 25 to 30 seats, many believe the party should fight the elections alone.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
January 28, 2022 1:11:27 am
BJP state president Chandrakant Patil. (Express Photo: Ashish Kale/File)

State BJP president Chandrakant Patil said on Thursday that the party will not forge a pre-poll alliance with Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) for the upcoming BMC polls. However, the BJP appears to be divided on this. Party insiders said that while a section believes that an alliance with MNS will help BJP dent Shiv Sena’s vote share in at least 25 to 30 seats, many believe the party should fight the elections alone.

Those pushing for BJP-MNS alliance are elected members from Mumbai, said sources. “Apart from the electoral dividend, MNS chief Raj Thackeray, with his oratorical skills, will help in creating a perspective against the ruling Shiv Sena, especially on core issues such as Marathi asmita (pride),” said a BJP leader.

The section in favour of an alliance believe MNS can check Sena in key Marathi dominant areas like Dadar, Mahim, Worli, Wadala, Sewri and Bhandup among others.

In Mumbai, Marathi voters comprise 26-30 per cent of the electorate. It is followed by North Indian voters (17-20 per cent), which assumes significance, as MNS is still perceived as an anti-North Indian party.

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A senior BJP functionary said, “At this point, we are exploring various aspects. Should BJP revive another front lead by the Thackerays (Raj Thackeray) in Maharashtra? At present, MNS’ political reckoning is at an all-time low.”

In last BMC polls, MNS had won seven seats. But immediately after the elections, six of its corporators joined had Sena. The MNS is left with just one corporator, Sanjay Turde.

On Thursday, Patil told mediapersons, “In the 2017 BMC polls, BJP had won 82 seats, just two short of Sena’s 84. But we handed Sena the BMC mayor’s post. However, in the coming elections, BJP will fight to get its mayor elected. We will take our tally up from 82 seats to 117 seats,” he added.

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