Smart move in Mumbai

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The BJP has decided not to stake claim to the coveted mayor’s post in the cash-rich Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), or to hold any office in the BMC, thus letting the Shiv Sena, which won just two more seats than the BJP in the recent BMC election, to have the post of both mayor and deputy mayor. This is a smart move as it potentially heads off the possibility of the Sena withdrawing support to the Devendra Fadnavis government in the Maharashtra Assembly. That would certainly bring down the BJP-led state government if the Nationalist Congress Party doesn’t shore it up. The NCP has been put in the shade by the BJP in its western Maharashtra stronghold in the recent local bodies poll. Will it want to test its strength against the BJP in an Assembly election in the near future, if the Fadnavis government falls?

For that matter, will the Sena, whose relations with the BJP, its ally of three decades, have lately turned rocky, want to risk state elections when the party didn’t do too well in the local bodies election?

If both the NCP and the Sena wish to chance their arm in a state election as of now, then the BJP-led government faces an uncertain future. Before taking a call, though, the two smaller Maharashtra parties may prefer to gauge the BJP’s overall stock after the results of the Assembly elections in five states on March 11. The Sena, meanwhile, would do well to gain allies in the BMC and not rely only on the BJP.

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