January 29, 2017 12:39:41 am
AS THE BJP and the Shiv Sena alliance has come apart, the possibility of realignment of political forces has emerged. The MNS has reportedly approached the Sena for a tie-up, while the BJP and the NCP have opened back channel negotiations. However, till late on Saturday, political parties kept the suspense going about any new tieups. Tension among poll aspirants is also on the rise as they have already lost two crucial days for filing nomination papers. Though the MNS has reportedly made the first move, the Sena has neither openly rejected the offer, nor has it declared its intention of accepting it.
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On Saturday, Sena leader Neelam Gorhe said she has heard about the proposal, but the party leadership will take the final call. “Anything can happen in politics,” she added. Leaders and workers of both the Shiv Sena and the MNS seem to be keen for an alliance between the two parties. “If Uddhav and Raj Thackeray come together, new political history will be created in the state,” said Manohar Joshi, former Chief Minister and veteran Sena leader, at a function in Pune on Saturday.
Echoing his views, MNS state regional vice-president Ranjit Shirole said,”It will be in the interest of both the parties if they join hands… But so far it is all speculation, nothing is final.”
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Gorhe, however, said the Sena was ready with its list of candidates for both the Pune Municipal Corporations (PMC) and Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC). “At this stage, talking of an alliance might cause confusion among party workers, especially poll aspirants,” he said.
A MNS leader, however, said if a formal alliance does not take place, an understanding is likely. “It is possible that a secret understanding, like backing each other’s potential winners, might take place,” he said.
Meanwhile, an “understanding” between the NCP and the BJP is also likely. NCP chief Sharad Pawar has indicated that his party was open for discussions with the BJP in the event the Sena withdraws support.
Pawar’s remarks came after Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray snapped ties with the BJP and launched a vitriolic attack on its state partner.
NCP is known to be close to the BJP, with Pawar sharing a good equation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other BJP leaders, including Nitin Gadkari. The NCP has been cut up with the Congress after the alliance was thrown out of power two years ago and the Congress openly blamed NCP leaders, such as Ajit Pawar, for the downfall. It’s recent ‘discussions’ with the Congress over an alliance for the PMC and the PCMC polls has remained a non-starter. Congress leaders said the NCP was not interested in the alliance as it was cosying up to the BJP.
Meanwhile, BJP leaders said they were “grievously hurt” with the comments Uddhav Thackeray made on Thursday and therefore do not see them coming together again. “Uddhav used strong words for the BJP like “time to tame the wild bull” and “nalayak.” Besides, he also said that Sena would henceforth like to contest all elections on its own. This clearly means that the Sena was no more interested in going with the BJP,” said a senior BJP leader, adding that the party leaders were in touch with NCP leaders.
The NCP leaders said Congress does not seem to be interested in an alliance. “Congress is taking too much time. We cannot wait this long, as filing of nominations becomes difficult at later stages,” said Vandana Chavan, President of NCP’s Pune city unit.
NCP leader Ajit Pawar, however, said the decision regarding the alliance will be declared on Sunday. “We are confident of forming an alliance,” he said, while admitting former Sena Corporator Sunil Tingre into the party.
In the 2012 elections for the PMC, the MNS had sprang a surprise by winning 29 wards. However, in PCMC it could win only four, still one better than the BJP, which barely managed three corporators. The MNS hopes to better its show if the Sena comes on board.
MNS leaders said if the Sena and the MNS join hands in Pimpri-Chinchwad, they could come to power. “If both Raj and Uddhav address rallies in Pimpri-Chinchwad, it will turn the tide in favour of our alliance,” said an MNS leader. BJP leaders, however, said they were confident of doing well even if MNS and Sena join hands.
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