Mumbai mayor will be from Shiv Sena as BJP refuses to contest

BMC polls

The Congress will field its own mayor candidate in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation instead of supporting the Shiv Sena

The Shiv Sena's Vishwanath Mahadeshwar and Hemangi Worlikar filed nominations for posts of Mayor and Deputy Mayor respectively, but the BJP's decision to step aside has ensured that the Sena candidates' victory is mere formality. He also said that a committee of three retired bureaucrats would be formed to invite recommendations to ensure increased transparency in all the local bodies across the State. "Unlike the original scheme, the project-affected persons in BMC projects as well as slum dwellers on BMC-owned land will be given priority and will be rehabilitated before others", said Vishwasrao.

By retaining power in the BMC with BJP's "generosity", Sena's bargaining power declines in state politics, where it plays the belligerent ally of the BJP.

On the other side, Congress spokesperson Raju Waghmare said this was expected since the match between the BJP and the Shiv Sena was "fixed", while Nationalist Congress Party state President Sunil Tatkare said the BJP move was not surprising, as his party had maintained all along that the Shiv Sena would not implement its threat of leaving the central and state governments. After BJP had cleared that they will not contest for mayors elections in BMC, the strength of the house is left to 145 and to win the internal elections Shiv Sena requires only 72 seats which will be won by the party easily. The members include Ramnath Jha, Gautam Chaterjee and Sharad Kale.

Senior Sena leader and transport minister Diwakar Raote expressed pleasure over the decision. In addition, a special Deputy Lokayukta will be appointed for the BMC. Congress's Vinni D'souza, a corporator from Santacruz, has been fielded instead.

The Opposition, however, claimed it was an attempt by Mr. Fadnavis to safeguard his post at the cost of transparency. "BJP has fooled the voters of Mumbai. We have been saying from the beginning that the Sena-BJP fight is nothing but an attempt to divert voters' attention, and we have been proved right". "Without the people's mandate, the BJP should have occupied the Opposition benches, which they have rejected". Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam told TOI, "I am sure, Lokare will be supported by NCP".

This meeting was chaired by party chief Uddhav Thackeray who inquired about these two candidates from senior leaders and then confirmed their names.

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