Despite being a part of the MVA government, Congress on Tuesday announced that it is ready to contest all 227 seats in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation on its own. Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole made this remark while chairing a meeting at the party office in Mumbai to review the strategy for the next BMC election due in 2022. On this occasion, the ongoing ‘My Mumbai- My Congress- 100 days- 100 wards’ campaign was reviewed.
Under the aegis of this programme, the party aims to reach out to 30 wards through padayatras till the end of February. This meeting was attended by Mumbai Congress president Bhai Jagtap, Mumbai Congress working president Charan Singh Sapra, Maharashtra Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat, state School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad, state PWD Minister Ashok Chavan, former CM Prithviraj Chavan, former MP Sanjay Nirupam and other office-bearers. At present, Congress’ Ravi Raja is the Leader of Opposition in the BMC.
Press Note (16/02/21)
“माझी मुंबई – माझी काँग्रेस – १०० दिवस – १०० वॉर्ड” या उपक्रमा अंतर्गत फेब्रुवारी अखेरपर्यंत पदयात्रांमार्फत मुंबईतील ३० वॉर्डांपर्यंत पोहचायचे आमचे लक्ष – भाई जगताप pic.twitter.com/preWIyrFVy
— Mumbai Congress (@INCMumbai) February 16, 2021
The high-stakes BMC election
BMC is considered Asia’s richest civic body with an annual budget of nearly Rs.37,000 crore. Shiv Sena has been a formidable force in the civic elections even when NCP-Congress was in power in the state. In the 2017 civic polls, BJP and Shiv Sena contested separately as they could not agree to the seat-sharing formula. Reportedly, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had threatened to pull out from the BJP government both in Maharashtra as well as the Centre at that juncture. Thus, the 2017 BMC election became a prestige battle for the Sena and BJP.
The results brought in more cheer for BJP than the Sena as the former secured 82 seats, an increase of 51 seats from the previous election. Moreover, the Shiv Sena fell way short of the majority winning just 84 seats. On the other hand, Congress, NCP, and MNS won 31, 7 and 6 seats respectively. After hectic negotiations, BJP decided not to challenge the Sena on the Mayor’s position. Thus, Shiv Sena’s Kishori Pednekar and Suhas Wadkar won the election to the posts of Mayor and Deputy Mayor respectively on November 22. While the divide between the two allies continued to grow over the years, the Sena consolidated its position in the BMC when all 6 winning candidates of the MNS joined the party.