In a last-ditch attempt to keep his flock together, necessitated by the ongoing political crisis with the Shiv Sena, Maharashtra chief minister and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will meet the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) corporators on Friday.
While Thackeray has been holding meetings with the district presidents to see where the party cadre stands, with the migration of a majority of the MLAs to the Eknath Shinde camp, all eyes are on this meeting with the corporators.
After MLAs followed by MPs, the next big split within the party is going to be among corporators of the BMC, stated a source.
Sena leaders, too, claim there will be an impact on the BMC polls to be held in October-November, which can further damage the party.
Ruling the BMC since 1989, the Sena’s strength originates from its control over the richest civic body in the country.
WHY ONLY BMC CORPORATORS?
Sources within Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) believe that Eknath Shinde has clout in Thane, Kalyan-Dombivli and Ulhasnagar, whereas Navi Mumbai has been the BJP’s stronghold. So the only corporation that may still be with the Thackeray-led Sena is the BMC.
There were 84 elected corporators in the BMC, which grew to 99, stated a Sena leader.
The breaking of the Sena gives the BJP a strong shot at the mayor’s post in the elections.
In Thane Municipal Corporation, even the Thackeray-led Shiv Sena leaders maintain that they will be wiped out. “There will be tremendous effect on Thane, Navi Mumbai, Kalyan and Ulhasnagar. We will be wiped out in Thane, Kalyan and Dombivli, while Navi Mumbai will go to the BJP. We are estimating the damage already,” said a Shiv Sena insider, maintaining that there will be “some” impact in the BMC if the party sees a clear split.
“However, in Mumbai, there will be slight damage. MLAs have broken away, not the karyakartas. The actual workers are still there,” added the leader.
The CM has met leaders of all constituencies, whose MLAs have left to join Shinde, said sources.
However, the opposition in the BMC has a different take. One of the BJP’s senior leaders, who has seen the corporation’s functioning up close, says corruption, non-performance and not giving adequate services will lead to the fall of Thackeray’s Sena. “This would have happened even if there was no split from within,” added a senior BJP leader.
“Owing to the -performance of the leadership of the Shiv Sena, its party cadre and leaders will leave the party eventually, if they get a better alternative,” said a senior BJP leader.
There are many answers that even the public representatives are seeking. What if the Shinde camp gets the symbol? Which one will be the real Shiv Sena of Balasaheb Thackeray?
If not, will Shinde float a new party or merge with the BJP?
If yes, then what will happen to those who sided with Shinde, but want to remain Shiv Sainiks?
Sources say that a majority of the doubts will be clarified in the corporators’ meet.