Shiv Sena approaches Congress for pact, party says 'not interested'

Mumbai: A day after a hung House was thrown up following the BMC polls here, the Shiv Sena, which bagged (84+3) of the 227 seats, on Friday approached the Congress party for a post-poll alliance, but the latter evinced no interest.

Besides the Shiv Sena (84+3) and the BJP (82), the Congress won 31 seats, NCP nine, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena seven, Samajwadi Party six, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen two, Independents five and a local party won one seat. A senior Congress leader confirmed to IANS that the Shiv Sena did approach the party for an alliance in Mumbai, but the party did not show interest.

If they go for a post-poll alliance in Mumbai, then they can easily get absolute majority with 118 seats (87+31), whereas 114 is the magic figure in the 227-strong BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) House.

The two biggest parties -- Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) -- struggled on Friday to cobble up sufficient numbers to grab the critical post of Mayor. In a major boost to the Sena efforts, two rebels who contested as Independents, walked back to the party fold, while an Independent corporator extended support.

Party chief Uddhav Thackeray beamed approvingly as this took the Sena tally up from the 84 seats it won to 87, making it the largest-single entity so far in the country's biggest and richest civic body.

It was a huge setback to the Congress, which ruled the state for 15 long years till 2014 in alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

Despite having strong party leaders, including former chief ministers Prithviraj Chavan, Narayan Rane and Ashok Chavan, party's General Secretary Gurudas Kamat and Sanjay Nirupam, the Congress fared poorly in the polls to all civic bodies across the state.

The BJP gained hugely in nine other major civic bodies of Maharashtra as well.