Sena's Mahadeshwar elected Mumbai mayor with BJP backing
The Shiv Sena retained its hold over the country's richest municipal corporation when its candidate – Vishwanath Mahadeshwar – was elected as the 76th mayor of Mumbai following an acrimonious battle with the BJP for political supremacy in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.
The Shiv Sena bagged the Mayor's post for the fifth consecutive year, but with the support of its State Government ally BJP, with whom it had a neck-and-neck contest in winning the maximum number of seats in the BMC elections held recently.
On Wednesday's voting for the post of Mayor, which was conducted by outgoing Mayor Snehal Ambekar, witnessed both mayoral contenders being given fifteen minutes to withdraw their nominations.
When none of them withdrew, voting was carried out in which the Shiv Sena-BJP-Independents group emerged in the majority to make Shiv Sena's Mahadeshwar the mayor.
Mahadeshwar received 171 votes that included the Shiv Sena (84), BJP (82) and five Independents, while the rival Congress candidate Vitthal Lokre got 54 votes. Seven corporators of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) however abstained from voting.
Earlier, the close tie in the nearly equal number of seats won by the Shiv Sena and the BJP had witnessed both parties highlighting their claim for the mayor's post in the BMC.
However, with the Shiv Sena threatening to withdraw support to the Maharashtra Government in which it is an ally, the BJP chose to withdraw from contesting the mayoral election.
Meanwhile, On a day the BJP helped Shiv Sena install its Mayor in the BMC, the Uddhav Thackeray-led party said the BJP government in Maharashtra was still on "notice period".
"Yes... This (the BJP-led NDA) government is still on the notice period. Unless our chief (Thackeray) clarifies, the government will continue to be on notice," Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe said. She was speaking to reporters on the campus of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation in South Mumbai after the mayoral election. Interestingly, Gorhe's remarks came days after Sena minister Ramdas Kadam said the party ministers had put away the resignation letters they were carrying in their pockets.