As the Maha Vikas Aghadi government completes one year in power on November 28, Opposition BJP is concentrating on ‘Mission Mumbai 2022’, with an aim to install a BJP mayor after the BMC polls.
The party, which plans to contest the BMC polls alone in 2022, is currently working on its team for the elections. While three-term MLA from Kandivali, Atul Bhatkhalkar, has been appointed the poll in charge for the elections, Mangal Prabhat Lodha has been retained as the city BJP president.
But the campaign will be led by former chief minister and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Devendra Fadnavis. “The party has set a target to get absolute majority on its own. We will contest alone. We will win more than 114 seats (the half-way mark),” said Fadnavis.
“Mumbai will get its first BJP mayor in 2022,” added BJP president Chandrakant Patil.
Party leaders said that notwithstanding the optimism, the city unit is aware that Shiv Sena, along with Congress and NCP, cannot be taken for granted.
In 2017, when the two parties fought the polls separately, Sena had won 86 seats and BJP 82 in the 227-member BMC. “In the last elections, we handed over the BMC to Shiv Sena on a platter following directives from then party president Amit Shah,” said Patil.
The party is now working on a two-pronged strategy — to make inroads into the Marathi votebank of the Sena and the consolidation of North Indian and Gujarati votes, said BJP leaders.
Party MLAs like Manoj Kotak, Sunil Rane and Yogesh Sagar as well as Leader of Opposition in the state Legislative Council, Pravin Darekar, will also work on the polls.
A party insider said that infrastructure projects worth Rs 1 lakh crore, which were initiated during the Fadnavis regime for Mumbai, will be projected among the people. These would include Metro, Mumbai trans harbour link and coastal road projects. “Also, reforms undertaken in the real estate sector to check inflated prices and corruption through RERA, as well as providing affordable houses for middle and lower middle classes, would be highlighted,” the leader added.
Fadnavis said, “BJP’s politics is centered on development. Mumbaikars know what the BJP government had done for the city and its 1.25 crore people in a short span of five years. People will have to choose between development, which BJP will deliver, and Sena’s corruption.”
“The BJP, with 17 MLAs of the 36 MLAs in Mumbai, has an upper edge. It will work to uproot Sena from BMC,” said Bandra MLA Ashish Shelar.
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