All eyes now on forthcoming cash-rich BMC polls

The Maharashtra civic polls on November 28 may have partly ended with the BJP winning maximum seats, but the bickering, blame-game and repercussions still continue. While the Maharashtra BJP is in a celebratory mode,  Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray came down heavily on the party cadres for not putting up a stiff fight or ensuring even reasonable winning figures in the recently-concluded civic polls in the state.

The Shiv Sena leader also continued to take sarcastic digs at Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis – (commenting that “He is campaigning as if there is no tomorrow) – over his whirlwind poll campaign tour of the state, that witnessed the BJP racing to a thumping victory. However, what remained forgotten was that both Thackeray and his son – Yuva Sena president Aditya Thackeray – had been announced as the star poll campaigners but did not do so, according to Sena sources.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi came in for brickbats from the youth wing of the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS, which criticised him for not including ‘Marathi’ as an optional language in his official Android application but adding ‘Gujarati’ instead. Stating that ‘Hindi’ as India’s national language – or Marathi, which is spoken by 19% people globally - should have been his second option, Akhil Chitre, secretary of the MNS youth wing, told media “This clearly shows how biased our PM is.”

Now, even as many of the badly-trounced political parties are still licking their wounds from the recently-held November 28 elections, all eyes are on the forthcoming, cash-rich Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections. While some in the Shiv Sena are supposedly contemplating going it alone as they did successfully earlier, others are counseling a wait-n-watch mode that is being duplicated by the other parties including NCP, which witnessed a confrontation between two of its senior leaders – Sanjay Dina Patil and Nawab Malik – that was ultimately resolved peacefully by both in Mumbai last week. The reason, party chief Sharad Pawar’s 76th birthday celebrations and also the fact that the NCP now faces a crucial test in the second phase of the civic polls in its own stronghold of Pune district on December 14.

Meanwhile, even as the political blame game goes on, another “pricey name game” continues. The BJP-led Maharashtra Government proposes to spend approximately Rs 5,00,000 to just add one word – ‘Maharaj’ -in changing the name of the formerly-known Victoria Terminus  railway station from its present “Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus” into Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus.

The Maharashtra Cabinet will send this note to the Railway Ministry, who then send it to The Home Ministry before the order on this is issued to the Central Railway authorities. The picturesque Victoria Terminus railway station in south Mumbai was built in 1887 by British architect Frederick William Stevens and this name was changed to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in March 1996, before it was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site on July 2, 2004.
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