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BMC elections 2017: Twists and turns – here’s how the poll campaign unfolded

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation elections 2017: Voting is underway in the the country’s richest civic body.

Written by Arita Sarkar |
February 21, 2017 10:30:15 am
Maharashtra Civic polls, BMC polls, BMC poll news, Maharashtra civic polls, BJP in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena and Maharashtra, Congress in Maharashtra, NCP in Maharashtra, India news, National news After failed negotiations on seat sharing agreement and with no response from the BJP, the Shiv Sena on January 26 announced that it would go in alone. (File)

From Sena-BJP seat-sharing talks to mudslinging, here’s how the campaign unfolded for elections to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, the country’s richest civic body. Even though Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had appeared to be keen on keeping their 20-year-old alliance, the two-week-long negotiations came to a halt after Sena offered only 60 seats to its ally in response to the BJP’s demand for 114 seats, which included the seats of 40 sitting Sena corporators. BJP felt insulted, and the Sena started sending out feelers of breaking the alliance. On January 26, with no response from the BJP, the Sena announced to go it alone.

WATCH VIDEO | BMC Elections 2017: Polling Begins Across Maharashtra, MNS Chief Raj Thackeray Casts His Vote

* After the alliance ended, both parties started levelling allegations and counter-allegations. While the BJP asked the Sena to introduce more transparency in the civic body, the latter asked the BJP to do the same in the state government and the Union cabinet by allowing the Opposition, the media and the Lokayukta to attend its meetings.

* On January 27, candidates started filing nominations.

* Meanwhile, MNS approached Sena on January 29 for an alliance without any condition. The appeal was, however, dismissed by Uddhav Thackeray.

* Until February 2, none of the major parties, such as BJP, Sena and Congress, had released their candidate lists, in order to reduce the chances of dissent among ticket aspirants. No party, however, managed to contain rebellion as many threw hats in the ring against official candidates. On February 9, Sena expelled 26 rebels who are still in the fray and may ruin the prospects of official candidates.

BMC Elections 2017 Live Updates

WATCH VIDEO | BMC Polls: CM Fadnavis, Uddhav Thackeray With Family Cast Ballot

* Sena kicked off campaigning on February 4 with a massive rally addressed by Uddhav Thackeray in Girgaum, a Marathi-dominated area and Sena’s bastion for long. Uddhav was joined by his son and Yuva Sena head Aaditya Thackeray in subsequent roadshows and rallies.

Maharashtra Civic polls, BMC polls, BMC poll news, Maharashtra civic polls, BJP in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena and Maharashtra, Congress in Maharashtra, NCP in Maharashtra, India news, National news Uddhav Thackeray in Girgaum, a Marathi-dominated area and Sena’s bastion for long. He was joined by his son and Yuva Sena head Aaditya Thackeray in subsequent roadshows and rallies.

* On February 5, BJP started campaigning by paying their respects at the Sanyukt Maharashtra Memorial at Hutatma Chowk in Fort and pledging to bring in “transparency and corruption-free governance” in the civic body.

* Sena had already released its manifesto on January 23, the birth anniversary of party founder the late Bal Thackeray, while BJP released its 20-page manifesto designed in the form of an affidavit on a stamp paper on February 7.

Maharashtra Civic polls, BMC polls, BMC poll news, Maharashtra civic polls, BJP in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena and Maharashtra, Congress in Maharashtra, NCP in Maharashtra, India news, National news Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray with son Aaditya Thackeray and senior leader Manohar Joshi releasing the party’s manifesto in the city on Monday. (Source: PTI )

* Both parties continued to level allegations against each other on hoardings, rallies as well as on social media. While Fadnavis called Sena extortionist, Sena termed BJP a party of goons. In another such instance, Sena said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation decision had brought Emergency-like situation in the country, and Fadnavis countered that only those affected by demonetisation were criticising it.

* BJP continuously spoke of a “secret pact” between Sena and Congress, with various BJP leaders including Vinod Tawde claiming that there was an alliance on 50 seats between the two parties. Both Congress and Sena dismissed the allegations as baseless.

* On February 18, major political parties organised their final rallies. Responding to BJP’s allegations of Thackeray pocketing the “nullah scam money”, the latter said money from the “Ganga-clean up scam” had gone into Modi’s pockets in that case.

* BJP focussed its campaign primarily on promises of development. At a rally on February 18, Fadnavis promised that slum-dwellers would get 305 square feet houses, bigger than the current measurements of 269 sq ft under the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) scheme, if BJP was voted to power. He also promised in situ rehabilitation of 50,000 slum-dwellers in the Mumbai airport area.

* As tussle between the long-term alliance partners intensified, MNS, NCP and Congress dared Sena to withdraw its support from the state government on various occasions.

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