The NCP president Sharad Pawar on Monday said the BJP has supported its estranged ally Shiv Sena in the BMC after its attempts to capture power came unstuck and to save the coalition government in Maharashtra. “The BJP had made all attempts to capture power in BMC. However, after realising that it is unsuccessful in doing so, they finally decided to support the Shiv Sena,” Pawar told reporters at Thane.
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His remarks came against the backdrop of the BJP withdrawing itself from the BMC Mayoral poll in favour of the Sena.
The Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis recently announced the BJP will not contest the Mayoral poll, due this week, which paved the way for Sena to install its nominee Vishwanath Mahadeshwar as new Mayor of Mumbai.
Pawar said, “the BJP is supporting Sena in BMC with an intention to save the coalition government. You will see their (Sena’s and BJP’s) bickering in future.”
Though Sena is a junior alliance partner in the BJP-led Central and Maharashtra governments, both the parties contested the last month’s polls to local and civic bodies, including Mumbai, in Maharashtra separately.
“The mudslinging between the BJP and Sena in run-up to the civic polls was intended to secure maximum number of seats. We should try to stop them from reaching the magic figure in future,” Pawar said.
While the Shiv Sena has emerged as the single largest party in BMC elections by winning 84 seats, the BJP came close second with 82 seats. However, none of the parties is in the position to reach the magic figure of 114 seats necessary to rule the 227-member body.
Responding to a query on the BJP-backed Independent MLC Prashant Paricharak’s remarks on soldiers, Pawar said they were “uncalled for”.
“A public representative is not expected to behave in such an irresponsible manner. The demand for Paricharak’s resignation is proper,” he said.
The members of the Maharashtra Legislative Council, cutting across party lines, today demanded “permanent suspension” of Paricharak for his controversial remarks.
Terming “shameful” the recent Army examination paper leak, Pawar said the system should be blamed for this. Pawar appealed to cadres to “introspect” in the wake of the drubbing suffered by his party in recently-held elections to ten municipal corporations and 25 Zilla Parishads.
“Whatever be the reasons, we should introspect and also concede the defeat in polls. We should identify the mistakes and rectify them to make the party stronger,” the former Union minister said after interacting with the party workers.
The ruling BJP has made inroads into NCP’s bastions in western Maharashtra in the polls.
The NCP lost its traditional strongholds of Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad municipal corporations, which were wrested by the saffron party. The BJP won 8 out of 10 civic bodies that went to polls.
“We had worked vary hard in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad. However, what went wrong is not known. While we lost in these urban places simultaneously we did well in rural pockets,” Pawar said.
Responding to a query, he said the NCP would hold talks with the “like minded parties” to come to power in those Zilla Parishads where the margin of victory between his party and the BJP is small.
He said the party leaders should find a workable solution with the Congress in future by holding talks.
Without taking the BJP’s name, Pawar said, “the party which is in power in Centre and Maharashtra had extensively used its power to win the elections.”
He said in the Thane Municipal Corporation, which was won by the Shiv Sena, the differences between the NCP and the Congress over allotment of certain seats adversely affected the prospects of both the parties.
He said crossing over of many leaders from the NCP before and after elections also affected its performance in polls.