No support to Shiv Sena in mayoral election, says Congress

New Delhi, Feb 27 (IANS) The Congress on Monday said it will not extend support to the Shiv Sena for the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation mayoral election, explaining “it is more important for the party to fight communal forces”.

“Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam has already clarified that the Congress will not support the Shiv Sena,” Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said.

“As far as the Congress is concerned, fighting communal forces is more important than supporting any party while keeping political equations in mind,” he added.

However, senior Congress leader and former Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde told IANS: “Nothing has been decided yet (on support to the Shiv Sena). I don’t know anything else.”

He said this gave an indication that parleys with the Shiv Sena were on after no party notched up a clear majority in the corporation elections.

Serious differences emerged on Saturday in the Congress over the issue of support to the Shiv Sena.

All India Congress Committee General Secretary and seniormost Congress leader Gurudas Kamat raised “strong objections” to even any discussion on a tie-up or indirect support to the Shiv Sena in the BMC.

Nirupam has already clarified that the party was not interested in supporting the Shiv Sena led by Uddhav Thackeray.

The Congress won 31 of the 227 seats in the local body, compared with Shiv Sena’s tally (84+3) and the BJP (82).