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Stung by the defection of six out of seven corporators of his party in the Mumbai civic body to its arch-rival Shiv Sena on Friday, MNS chief Raj Thackeray today alleged the Uddhav Thackeray-led party played "dirty politics of money" by paying Rs 5 crore to each of them.
The BJP, the second largest party in the Sena-controlled Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), had also accused the Sena of indulging in "horse trading" in the wake of the defection.
However, Uddhav Thackeray had termed the entry of MNS corporators to his party as "ghar wapsi", given that they were part of the Sena before breaking away with Raj Thackeray in 2006 when he had floated the MNS.
"Each MNS corporator has received Rs 5 crore from the Shiv Sena. It is a very low level of politics and I will never forget it," Raj Thackeray told reporters.
After Friday's development, the MNS, which once projected itself as a strong alternative to the Sena by playing the aggressive politics on the "son-of-soil" issue, has now left with just a single corporator in the BMC. The MNS had 27 corporators after the 2012 elections. The number dwindled to seven in the BMC polls held earlier this year.
"Late Balasaheb Thackeray never indulged in such dirty politics of money, when he was heading Shiv Sena. I left Sena only because of such dirty politics. I will never forget such low level of politics, where you take interest in splitting a party," Raj Thackeray said.
Trying to put up a brave force, the MNS chief said the corporators could have left the party with pride instead of "accepting money".
The move to wean away the MNS corporators is viewed as a masterstroke by Uddhav Thackeray, as it helped his party raise its tally in the 227-member house to 90, eight more than the BJP.
Political observers say with this move, Uddhav Thackeray denied any chance to the BJP to either match the Sena's tally in BMC or even surpass it.
The Sena also enjoys the support of four Independent corporators, while the BJP has the support of two Independents.