Ashish Shelar, 49, a BJP member from Bandra West and Shiv Sena foe, has been named the BJP’s Mumbai unit president. Shelar, who was not appointed to the government, has been handed this important job ahead of the BMC elections. Since 1985, the Shiv Sena has controlled India’s richest civic body.
It is critical for the BJP’s sustained success in Maharashtra to seize control of the BMC from the Sena, and Shelar is the right guy for the task.
Shelar has to work hard to get Marathi Manoos as well as people from other groups in order to defeat Thackeray’s Shiv Sena.
Even while the party intends to ride the Modi wave, it will need to strengthen ties with Marathi Manoos in particular, as the Thackeray group, following the Shinde-led mutiny, has already begun poll preparations by reaching out to traditional vote bank the Marathi Manoos.
Although the BMC elections will be contested on local concerns such as roads, connectivity, water, and sanitation, the BJP may need to be prepared to appease the people who are being struck by rising commodity costs and rising unemployment.
Furthermore, Shelar’s BJP would have to convincingly refute Thackeray faction’s claim of separating Mumbai from Maharashtra and diminishing its role as the country’s financial centre.