New Delhi: Days after Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) hung election verdict, Bharatiya Janata Party estranged ally Shiv Sena on Friday approached Congress party to form a post-poll alliance, claim reports, however, the Congress party evinced no interest in the coalition. Leading daily Indian Express quoted a source saying the Shiv Sena has offered the Deputy Mayor’s post to the Congress in lieu of its support.According to the reports of the daily, Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan called a meeting of senior party leaders where the Sena’s option is said to have been discussed.Also Read - CBSE Class 12 Board Exams 2021: Board Acknowledges Error in Sociology Paper on 'Gujarat Violence', to Take Action Against Paper Setters

Former Chief Ministers Sushilkumar Shinde and Narayan Rane; Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam; MP Hussain Dalwai and former Maharashtra ministers Naseem Khan and Balasaheb Thorat attended the meeting. On being asked about post-poll alliance Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan told Indian Express,  “The SS and the BJP continue to coexist in an alliance in the state and the Centre. It is for them to first take a call on the fate of their alliance. Only after that can we decide our position. Right now we are a third party.” Also Read - Punjab Assembly Polls: Akali Dal's Manjinder Singh Sirsa Joins BJP In Presence of Union Ministers

The leading daily also quoted a senior Sena leader without revealing his name. The Sena leader justified party’s move and said,“In the past, we had broken from NDA ranks to extend support to Congress’s nominees Pratibha Patil and Pranab Mukherjee for the President’s post. We see no reason why the Congress can’t extend us support to keep the BJP at bay.” Also Read - Omicron Scare: Modify Quarantine Guidelines, Centre Tells Maharashtra Govt

“We are banking on support from the MNS. The SP and the MIM can abstain or remain neutral during the vote for the Mayor to see us through,” Indian Express quoted another Shiv Sena leader.

The BJP improved its 2012 BMC poll performance by leaps and bounds, winning 82 seats, just two less than Sena which bagged 84 seats. Both the parties are short of the magic figure of 114 needed to control the civic body. Congress on the other hand, emerged a distant third in the race, winning 31 seats. NCP bagged only 9, down from 13 it won in 2012. Hence, if Congress and Sena go for a post-poll alliance in Mumbai, then they can easily get an absolute majority with 115 seats (84+31).

On being asked who will decide Mumbai’s next mayor, Uddhav Thackeray had earlier said,”We are celebrating today. We have come to power for the fifth consecutive time in Mumbai. I haven’t through of anything else right now.” However, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Nitin Gadkari yesterday said that there is “no option” for his party and Shiv Sena than joining hands for control of the Mumbai civic body. “The final decision on this issue has to be taken by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray. Both are mature and I am sure they will take the right decision,” he said. “I feel leaders of both parties have to take a decision, showing sujh bujh (understanding) and maturity,” Gadkari told a Marathi TV channel.

He singled out Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ for its targeting of PM Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.”If there has to be a friendship with us (BJP), then there has to be a check on the writings in Saamana. How will there be friendship when Saamana, on a daily basis, writes insulting things about the PM and our party president?” he said.

“I feel that had these things been avoided, there would not have been so much bitterness between BJP and Sena,” Gadkari said.Shiv Sena should take care that relations between the two parties should not deteriorate because of Saamana, he said.

(With inputs from agencies)