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After snubbing BJP, Shiv Sena might join hands with MNS – Sources

Mumbai: With Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray precluding all chances of an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the upcoming civic polls, including Mumbai, in the state, there is a possibility of the party sewing an alliance with the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).

Sources on high ranks of both parties have confirmed that talks between the two Marathi-dominated parties are on. No one, however, wants to go on record and speak about it as the discussion is still at a very nascent stage.

Sources further say that the seat-sharing alliance can be worked out roughly on the formula of 177:50, while the MNS is desirous of 50 seats in the 227 seats of the BMC house.

It is also speculated that if the alliance is formed at all, it will be for municipal polls outside Mumbai, including Nasik, Pune and Thane among others, and for local body elections for 25 zila panchayats.

The final decision is expected to be announced in a day or two.

This development comes a day after the Shiv Sena raised objection for using their supremo Bal Thackeray’s photo by an MNS corporator on his campaign. The corporator from Dadar used images of the late Bal Thackeray in order to woo the area’s traditional Marathi vote bank.

Both the parties met last year too, to discuss possibilities of a tie-up for the civic polls, but to no avail.

A day ago, Shiv Sena’s Thackeray, after a prolonged cold war with the BJP leadership, announced that they will contest elections to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and nine other municipal corporations in Maharashtra alone.

Accusing the BJP of ‘back-stabbing’ their party, Shiv Sena chief Sanjay Raut said, “The decision is not only for Mumbai and BMC polls, but for the entire Maharashtra. We will contest the elections using our own strength and power. We want to bring stability to Maharashtra which has been hampered post demonetization.”

Referring to the 25 years of alliance with the BJP, Uddhav Thackeray also said that his party wasted those years by sticking with the saffron alliance with the BJP.

The Shiv Sena and the BJP reportedly had held discussions over sharing the seats over two weeks ago. The discussions disfigured into a deadlock when Sena offered only 60 seats to the BJP out of 227.

Following the announcement, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis tweeted, “Power is not an achievement but means of a development. Providing transparent administration is the key of our government. Those who want, are with them, those who do not want, are without them. Change would certainly take place.”

The MNS, on the other hand, is struggling to salvage its reputation in the Maharashtra politics. It has secured just one seat in the last Assembly Elections in the state, out of a total of 288 seats.

In the previous BMC elections, it had 27 corporators in the BMC house as compared with Sena’s tally of 72. An alliance at this stage, hence, can prove to be a measure to resurrect themselves in the political arena of the state.

The BMC polls will be held on February 21 and the results will be announced on February 23.