Mumbai civic body polls: BJP pulls out of Mayor race, says will support Shiv Sena

Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis announced the news to the press. Photograph:( Twitter )

ANI Mumbai, Maharashtra, India Mar 04, 2017, 01.27 PM (IST)

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday said it is opting out of the contest for the post of Mayor and Deputy Mayor in the Mumbai civic body polls. 

In a major victory for the Shiv Sena, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who announced the news, said the party will not serve as the Opposition in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

The announcement comes as a U-turn by the BJP which had earlier broken its alliance with the Shiv Sena, accusing it of corruption in the Mumbai civic body.

Devendra Fadnavis said the BJP will support Shiv Sena for the sake of development, an indicator of an alliance between the parties for governing the civic body.

"At the end of the day Shiv Sena did win by more seats than us, so we respect the mandate of the people. We will not contest for Mayor or Deputy Mayor, nor will we play the role of Opposition in BMC. BJP will support Shiv Sena for the sake of development, and we won't compromise on transparency," the chief minister said.

He added that the decision was taken by the leaders of the party after a cabinet meeting at the chief minister's residence in Mumbai.

After Fadnavis's announcement, it is clear that the BJP will not cast its vote in the election for the mayor's post which will be held on March 8. 

Sena`s candidate for Mayor is Vishvanath Mahadeshwar and Hareshwar Worlikar is Deputy Mayor nominee.

The results of BMC Elections were declared on February 23. The Shiv Sena had won 84 seats, BJP 82 seats, Congress 31 seats, Samajwadi Party - 6, AIMIM - 3 seats, ABS - 1, and others - 5.

BJP's announcement comes as an olive branch to Shiv Sena. Ties between both parties were severely strained, even before the BMC polls. 

(WION with inputs from ANI)