India and Asia’s richest corporation, BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is a milch cow for our politicians and it comes as no stroke of genius that throughout the contest, it was under siege by political parties vying for the pot of gold. The secret ballot is out where Shiv Sena won by a tiny whisker with 84 seats, edging past BJP’s tally of 82.
This time, BJP and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis gamble paid out with the saffron party making a mark in the city with 82 legislators edging past the Grand old party, Congress, suffering yet another political hemorrhage. It’s high time for the Congress Party to introspect on their complete washout, like the monsoons, in a city where they once stood tall. Perhaps, Raj Thackeray and his MNS should now see the crude reality that regional politics doesn’t pay off and their complete wipe off in Maharashtra is testament to that.
It makes political sense for Raj Bhau to merge his MNS with Shiv Sena. He stands a better chance as a political leader to dictate things and time to reinvent himself in embracing an all-inclusive ideology in the city. For the Marathi Manoos, it’s Roti, Kapda aur Makaan rather than picking on outsiders entering the state to eke a livelihood. Political goonda gardi will not work in a cosmopolitan city like Mumbai.
To CM Fadnavis credit, he single-handedly played clean and tapped on issues faced by commoners every monsoon, be it potholes or promised transparency in the way Mumbai or Maharashtra, is administered. He played on anti-incumbency factors and in the award of tenders, allegations of scams or infrastructure ‘crippling the city’ that allegedly reign supreme at BMC level. The average middle-class Mumbaikars are tired of the same old story and it could be accounted for one of the reasons that the BJP was able to make a mark in the city. It shouldn’t be viewed as a vote of confidence in favor of BJP though but more as the woes of commoners for a better administered Mumbai. It was a well-calculated move to tap on disenchanted voters by giving 53 tickets to Non-Marathas such as Gujratis and North Indians. The moved paid handsomely well.
Make no mistake, Mumbai is Shiv Sena’s forte and they performed decently well in the city, taking into account the anti-incumbency factor of ruling the city over two decades and the death of supremo, Bala Saheb Thackeray which left a void in their vote bank. A large chunk may have gone to the BJP who also gained Congress vote. The tiger may have been tamed and is not roaring like in the good old days but it will not sleep on its laurels. After all, the stakes are too high and there are areas in Mumbai who swear allegiance to the Sainiks. High time for young Turks like Aditya Thackeray who showed the promise of having a modern outlook, to practice an inclusive policy for political gains.
India’s financial capital, Mumbai, suffer from plaguing issues such as potholes, crumbling of buildings where FSI is violated and infrastructure taking its toll on citizens every Monsoon. It’s a city known for never sleeping and needs its nightlife unscathed. The young-Marathas and Non-Marathas-abhor enforcing the Hindutva agenda or all forms of bans, be it beef ban or shutting down nightlife, a time where life starts. It’s a huge opportunity for the Shiv Sena with fresh leaders like Aditya Thackeray to be inclusive and represent the face of Mumbai, taking a departure from its ideology of bandh or hoodlums to incarnate modernity and embolden the values that Mumbai always stood for.