Amid talks between Shiv Sena, Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) for government formation in Maharashtra, these parties are set to battle it out in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections. Congress has decided to field candidate for the Mumbai Mayor and Deputy Mayor posts challenging Shiv Sena. Earlier, the BJP said that it will not field its candidate for BMC elections to be held on November 22. The last date for filing nomination for this post is Monday.
"BJP will not contest Mumbai Mayor elections as it doesn't have the numbers. BJP doesn't want to have an alliance with any opposition party. In 2022, the party will have the numbers on its own," said Ashish Shelar, BJP MLA and party's city unit chief.
It will be interesting to see how different parties vote in the election. Sharad Pawar had earlier offered to support Shiv Sena for fight against BJP. But with BJP out of the contention, NCP is expected to vote with Congress.
NCP leader Nawab Malik has said, "We are in talks for state government formation with Sena, but that is completely different from the mayoral elections on November 22. We will field NCP and Congress candidates wherever we can." The voting by BJP will also be watched closely. If it votes of estranged ally Shiv Sena, it could be seen as a sort of olive branch. However, abstaining would also Shiv Sena. It is highly unlikely that BJP will vote aginst Shiv Sena in support of Congress candidates.
BMC has a total 227 numbers of seats. Mayor is elected by the elected corporators of the BMC. Shiv Sena has 94 corporators, while BJP has 83. Earlier, BJP had supported Shiv Sena for Mayor's post. Meanwhile, Congress has 29 corporators while NCP has 8. Since 1997, the Mayor of Mumbai has been from Shiv Sena.