Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis reacted cautiously to the six Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) corporators’ decision to join the Shiv Sena, saying that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is observing the situation.
Last week, six MNS corporators joined the Shiv Sena. The defection increased Shiv Sena’s tally, strengthening its position in Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
Mr Fadnavis said, “There are a few things in politics which you can speak about and a few you cannot. The ACB will look into the allegations by Kirit Somaiya. He has also sought time to meet me. I will hear what he has to say.”
The chief minister was referring to senior BJP leader Mr Somaiya’s claims that each MNS corporator was paid Rs 5 crore by the Shiv Sena.
The six MNS corporators, led by Dilip Lande, met the Konkan divisional commissioner and presented a letter to him expressing their desire to join the Shiv Sena last week. The other five corporators who joined the Sena are Parmeshwar Kadam, Archana Bhalerao, Ashwini Matekar, Harshal More and Dattaram Narwankar.
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had made a formal announcement at Matoshree. “Majority of these corporators are former Shiv Sainiks, and they have returned to their original home,” he said.
With this development, the Shiv Sena’s tally in the 227-member BMC house has gone up from 84 to 90. It also enjoys the support of three independents. Buoyant after its victory in the Bhandup civic by-poll, the BJP has been rattled by this move. With 82 corporators, along with the support of two independents, the party is now well-behind Sena.