Even as uncertainty loomed large in the BMC polls due to a hung house, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray today exuded confidence that the party will retain the coveted Mayor's post, even as he hesitated to give a definitive answer on whether there would be an alliance.
In the BMC polls, results of which were declared today, the Shiv Sena has emerged as the single largest party, winning 84 seats, while its estranged ally Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) was close behind at 82.
Although the single largest bloc with 84 seats, Shiv Sena is way behind the halfway mark of 114 required to control the 227-member Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
"What is the hurry? Wait for some time. We have not yet decided if an alliance is to be made or not. We will do so soon," Thackeray said at a press conference.
"But I can assure that not only the Mayor, even the future Chief Minister will be from the Sena," he said. Thackeray, however, conceded that the party had expected to win more seats.
"But, whatever we have won, we have won on the merit of our Sainiks (workers). We are thankful to Mumbaikars who have kept their faith in us for the fifth consecutive time," he said.
The Sena leader said the party had done better than the last polls as it had won seats even in Muslim-dominated areas this time.
"I am still eating victory sweets....yet to decide if an alliance will be struck," he reiterated.
When reminded of his pre-election declaration that there would be no alliance with any party from now onwards, Uddhav said, "If I have stated my stand once, then an alliance won't happen, why are you asking this question again and again?"
"I have not thought about alliance (yet)....I only know we are number one party," he said.
Thackeray added that the missing names from voting lists was a serious issue and action should be taken against whoever responsible for it.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who led the BJP campaign in the civic polls across the state today said the party's core committee will decide the future course of action in the BMC.
As the Shiv Sena snapped its 25-year alliance, the elections had become a battle of prestige for Uddhav Thackeray and Fadnavis.
"All decisions for the party are taken by its core committee. Whether or not to go for an alliance will be decided when I, (Maharashtra BJP President) Raosaheb Danve, (Mumbai BJP chief) Ashish Shelar sit and look at the prevailing situation," Fadnavis told reporters here.
However, Shelar and Danve seemed hopeful that the BJP will rule the BMC with the support of independents.
"The figures show that we are gaining in the BMC..We may rule (the civic body). Some independents have extended support to us. Once the figures are finalised, we will be able to give a better picture of the BJP's position," Danve said.
Shelar said apart from 81 seats it has won, the party has support of at least four other corporators.