Shiva Sena is emerging as the clear winning in elections to the local ruling body of Mumbai, which has revenue larger than that of many states in India. However, the outfit is unlikely to get enough seats to form a government on its own and will need either the Congress or the BJP for support.
WhatsApp groups of ShivaSena supporters are being flooded with ‘conciliatory messages’ asking them to support a coalition government for the ‘benefit of Mumbai’.
The results are being updated in the chart on the right.
The elections are keenly eyed as they reflect the mood of the electorate in India’s commercial capital after the country’s economy was given a jolt by the withdrawal of currency notes in Oct-Nov period.
Moreover, the results are also significant for the future of Shiva Sena and many other right wing regional parties.
Like many others, Shiva Sena has been a long-time partner of Bharatiya Janata Party, India’s largest right-of-center political outfit.
However, with the BJP keen to expand its presence across the country, strains have crept up in its relationship with local right-wing partners such as Shiva Sena.
Sena has been trying to position itself as a champion of Marati interests, going beyond just representing Hindu interests.
The BJP, on its part, has been trying to subtly project Sena as an impediment to its ‘development agenda’. The national party managed to win more seats than Sena in the last Maharashtra elections two years ago, largely on its promise to create a separate state in Vidharbha, the interior, and backward part of Maharashtra.
There are a total of 227 seats in the Greater Mumbai Municipal Corporation or BMC.
Out of this, the Sena holds 75, the BJP 31 and the Indian National Congress 52. Maharashtra Navanirman Sena, which split away from Sena several years ago, holds 28 seats.