Nitish Kumar to canvass for Uddhav's Shiv Sena
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and deputy chief minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav may go to Mumbai to campaign in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections, expected to be held early next year.
The development came after Shiv Sena chief and former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray’s son Aaditya Thackeray visited Patna on Wednesday.
He met the two leaders to campaign in the BMC polls and expressed his party’s willingness to be a part of the alliance against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Aaditya’s meeting with Nitish was not scheduled but Tejashwi facilitated it after he expressed his party’s desire to join a coalition against the BJP. Sources said that the two Bihar leaders assured him of their support and presence if needed.
“Nitish has been working for a broad-based, pan-India Opposition against the BJP since the day he quit the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and formed the Grand Alliance government here in August this year.
Any party that wants to be a part of any such coalition will always be welcome and Nitish will be more than happy to stand with them,” a senior Janata Dal-United (JDU) leader told The Telegraph on the condition of anonymity.
The JDU leader added that Nitish “will be more than happy to stand with such a party in all circumstances. He is actively considering visiting Mumbai soon.”
Shiv Sena and JDU were the oldest allies of the BJP and were part of the NDA, but both quit over political differences and unfair treatment.
Uddhav was upstaged by the BJP in Maharashtra leading to a change in the government.
Sources in the RJD also said that Tejashwi has made up his mind to campaign in the BMC elections and asserted, “We all will go there.”
The BMC is the richest civic body in the country with a budget of around Rs 46,000 crore for 2022-23. Its control is considered prestigious and the Shiv Sena is making an all-out effort to win it again after 2017.
Its five-year term ended in March this year but the Maharashtra legislature deferred the polls till the restoration of the special Other Backward Castes (OBC) quota in the state. At present, an administrator is running it.
One reason behind Aaditya’s visit to Patna could be the fact that the migrants now comprise almost 50 per cent of the present 2.1 crore population of Mumbai.
Among them, the numbers of people from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are around 50 lakh.
They could sway the results on 40 to 45 seats out of total 227 BMC seats.
These voters could also play an important role in the next Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.
In the 2017 BMC elections, Sena got 84 seats, BJP 82, Congress 31, Nationalist Congress Party 9, and Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena got seven. The Shiv Sena’s seats had declined after three decades.
It will make all-out efforts to retain the corporation as its survival is threatened after a large section of the party went away with Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde.
Meanwhile, the BJP termed Aaditya’s meeting in Patna as a picnic.