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Sena-BJP-RPI 'Grand Alliance' ready for Mumbai civic polls

Thursday January 12, 2012 09:30:11 PM, IANS

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Mumbai: The Shiv Sena, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Republican Party of India Thursday announced their 'Grand Alliance' would sweep the forthcoming Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation elections and then focus on capturing the state assembly.

According to the formula hammered out after a week of hectic parleys, the Shiv Sena will contest 135, the BJP 63 and the RPI 29 of the 227 seats of the BMC, Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray said.

"We tried to give more to our new ally (RPI), but the Grand Alliance is not merely election-oriented, it is to counter the Congress-NCP all over the state," Thackeray said.

Terming the 'Grand Alliance' as "historic", he said it would sweep the polls in 27 Zilla Parishads and 10 municipal corporations, slated for Feb 7 and Feb 16 respectively.

Welcoming the combination of "Shiv Shakti with Bhim Shakti", RPI chief Ramdas Athavale said, "This is just the beginning."

"Our main target is bagging the Maharashtra assembly in the next elections (in 2014)," Athavale declared.

Athavale also said that the sulking senior RPI constituent Dalit Panthers Party leader Namdeo Dhasal was "very much a part of the Grand Alliance", though he was absent from Thursday's media gathering.

BJP state president Sudhir Mungantiwar, endorsing the move, said the 'Grand Alliance' would forge "a new era" in Maharashtra politics.

"We shall not allow the corrupt Congress-NCP to gain control over the BMC. Our alliance will not permit them to step anywhere close to it," Mungantiwar said.

Expressing pride over the SS-BJP's past five years' performance in the BMC, Thackeray called Athavale "a true friend" of the two parties.

The developments came a day after the Congress-NCP combine announced their first-time alliance for the civic polls by deciding to contest 169 and 58 seats respectively.

Referring to it, Athavale said: "They are two 'pehelwans' (wrestlers), we are three 'pehelwans', so we shall succeed in capturing the BMC."







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