The February 16 elections across 10 municipalities of Maharashtra are being seen as the mini assembly polls as various important cities, including Mumbai, would elect their respective civic bodies.Probably never before was a municipality so fiercely fought over. While it has been a do or die situation for the Congress-NCP combine and a time to prove its worth for Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), it is a question of survival for Bal Thackeray's Shiv Sena.The politically significant Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has been the Shiv Sena's bastion since 1996. However, in the battle for BMC this time the biggest threat to the Sena stronghold is from the MNS as the 2012 civic polls would be a fight for honour for the two Senas.Raj could not make much of an impact in the 2007 BMC elections that were held soon after his party was formed. However, this time around MNS is a major player.Having already dented Shiv Sena's votes in the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha polls in the state, Raj now hopes that the MNS would emerge victorious in Mumbai. Apart from Mumbai, the MNS has also established its stronghold in cities like Pune, Thane and Nashik. That is making Shiv Sena jittery.Senior journalist Kumar Ketkar said, "Raj Thackeray will be the most important factor. I can't say how much seats he will win, but this time even the non-Marathi voters will vote for him as they see him as a fresh option to Shiv Sena and BJP who have done nothing."The Shiv Sena knows what is at stake. If they loose BMC, they would become marginalised. So even at the age of 85, party supremo Bal Thackeray has been campaigning hard. Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray said the party has been banking on the development work it has undertaken so far.The civic polls are a do or die battle for the Congress and NCP too as the two parties have been hoping to benefit from the split of votes between the Shiv Sena and the MNS. The two allies at the national and state levels have already forged a pre-poll alliance for the civic polls for the first time.In an election rally Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who happens to be a senior NCP leader, recently said, "You have seen the rule of Shiv Sena-BJP for last 16 years. Give us a chance and see how we change the city with our political will."Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, who earlier was a Union minister as a Congress MP, said, "We are committed to making Mumbai a world class city."Apart from the parties, the 2012 BMC polls are also important for some political bigwigs. It is a prestige issue for some parties and a matter of survival for some. Though fought for a local municipal corporation, these elections are bound to have a long lasting impact on the state's political dynamics so no party has been taking any chance and fighting the battle with vigour.
Monday, February 13, 2012
BMC polls: MNS-Shiv Sena battle may help Cong-NCP
Posted by Rajan Alexander at 10:49 PM
Labels: BMC polls; MNS; Shiv Sena; BJP; Congress; NCP; Raj Thackeray; Bal Thackeray; maharashtra;2012 civic polls; Marathi; Prithviraj Chavan