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Will Shiv Sena join hands with Congress in BMC?

MUMBAI: With neither reaching the magic number of 114 seats in the BMC election, the Shiv Sena and the BJP are locked in a power tussle to grab the mayor’s post in India’s richest and biggest civic body.

While the Shiv Sena may have emerged on the top with 84 seats, the party is still way behind the numbers required to take control of the BMC. If Sena doesn’t stretch its hands to BJP which won 82 seats, just two less than its estranged saffron ally, it will have to seek support from other parties.

As the saying goes, the enemy’s enemy is a friend. The question now arises whether Congress and Sena will join hands to keep BJP away from power as the latter played an enemy to both the parties during last BMC elections. Will Sena seek support of the grand old party, which suffered a rout across Maharashtra, to reign over Mumbai?

Any party or combine requires 114 corporators for a simple majority in the 227-member BMC house. If Congress and Sena come together it will take their tally to 117, as the Congress, which was relegated to the third position in BMC, has 31 corporators.

According to sources, a discussion is going on behind the doors to keep BJP away from power.

Now what boggles the mind is that how two parties with altogether different, or say opposite, ideologies will agree on a tie-up? While the Shiv Sena has always batted for Hindutva, the Congress on the other hand has maintained its image of being a secular party.

Political analysts now say the ideological differences won’t be a hurdle in Sena-Congress alliance if both agree to come together.

If history is to be traced, Congress played a major role in bringing Sena to the mainstream. In 1960s, when Communists had an upper hand in the trade unions, Congress helped Sena to gain strength.

Whatever is going on behind the curtains, but on camera both Sena and Congress have denied talks taking place. According to sources, before closing the deal with Congress, Sena will make sure whether its bitter relations with the BJP can be sorted or not.

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