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Buoyed by BJP's impressive show in the recently held municipal council polls in Maharashtra, a party MP today said its Mumbai unit is for contesting forthcoming high-voltage BMC elections sans its partner of nearly two decades in the civic body, the Shiv Sena. Speaking to reporters in Parliament premise, BJP MP from Mumbai, Kirit Somaiya, said the BJP unit, however, is open to forming alliance with other small allies "if they wish to make the megapolis mafia-free". Considered as Asia's richest civic body, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is expected to go to polls in February next year. "After the unprecedented victory (in the council polls), our target is (to win) BMC elections, to make Mumbai mafia-free. "It is the sentiment of Mumbai unit president Ashish Shelar, me and each of the BJP's members that the party contests the election on its own. Our workers are prepared to contest all the 227 wards," Somaiya said. The Parliamentarian from Mumbai North-East constituency said the BJP though is open to form alliance with other small parties in NDA "if they too want to make Mumbai mafia-free". On asked if the Shiv Sena figured among such allies, Somaiya said Mumbaikars will not let the BJP go along with "those who looted and handed over Mumbai to mafias", suggesting the strained ties between the two parties. He also listed alleged scams which took place in the cash-rich municipal body, dominated by the Uddhav Thackeray-led party. "Mumbaikars will not let us go along with those people. One party has looted Mumbai a lot.
We will declare names of such people at appropriate time," he said in a veiled attack. The Shiv Sena and BJP are currently enjoying power at Centre and in the state government too. The parties though share uneasy relationship ever since they parted ways in the run up to Maharashtra assembly polls held in November 2014. The BJP emerged as the major gainer in elections held for 164 municipal councils and nagar panchayats in Maharashtra, winning highest number of seats at 893 out of 3727 seats. The Shiv Sena had emerged as the largest party in the BMC during the previous polls held in 2012, winning around 75 seats in 227-capacity House. The BJP had won close to 30 seats.
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