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Sena-BJP agree on alliance for municipal council polls

Mumbai: In a major thaw in their frosty relations, the ruling allies in Maharashtra – Shiv Sena and BJP today announced a tie-up for the elections to 212 municipal councils and nagar panchayats.

Announcing this at a hurriedly called press conference here, senior Sena leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut, accompanied by state BJP president Raosaheb Danve-Patil, said the two parties will contest these elections together.

“Sena president Uddhav Thackeray wanted an alliance from the very beginning,” Raut claimed.

The elections to 212 municipal councils and nagar panchayats would take place between November 2016 and January 2017.

He clarified that this decision was only about 212 municipal council and nagar panchayat polls and added that the Sena president was not in favour of bits and pieces alliance (separate alliances at each place).

“The pre-poll alliance will be stitched up from ‘Chanda to Banda’ (across Maharashtra),” Raut said.

Danve said instructions were issued to local BJP units to hold alliance talks with local Sena leaders.

“In case there is any dispute over seat-sharing the state level leaders would settle the issue amicably,” he said.

Earlier in the day, sources in the Sena said that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis along with Danve held preliminary talks over phone with Uddhav Thackeray today about alliance for the municipal corporation elections in Mumbai and elsewhere.

Further talks will take place post-Diwali, another Sena leader said.

Ahead of the crucial civic polls in Mumbai next year, local leaders of both parties were seen sparring in the recent months.