MUMBAI: Amid uncertainties over a pre-poll pact with the BJP, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray today released his party's manifesto for the BMC elections, even as he maintained that seat-sharing talks with the ally are still on.
Thackeray, flanked by a number of party MPs and MLAs, said the manifesto was being released independently by the party as today was the birth anniversary of Sena founder Bal Thackeray.
"January 23 is a very important day for Shiv Sainiks and we continue to be committed to the people of Mumbai on this day. Hence, (we) decided to release our manifesto today," he said.
"People are surprised and their eyes are left wide open when they see the budget of the Mumbai civic body and they ask where does all this money go. But if they study the subject in detail, they will find that BMC can only spend Rs 29,000 per person in Mumbai," Thackeray said addressing reporters here.
The Sena chief said if at all an alliance with BJP for the BMC (Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation) polls materialises, "good suggestions" by the ally will also be incorporated in the manifesto. He, however, refused to divulge details on the parleys being held by the two parties.
"Talks are still on. As and when we come to a conclusion, I will have to announce it anyway," he said. Among sops in the manifesto, Sena has promised to open e-learning centres for students and broaden the scope of teaching to meet demands in the current age. The party also offered to give preference in jobs in the BMC to those educated in civic-run schools.
The manifesto, read out by Arvind Sawant,MP, also revealed the party's plans in sectors like tourism, health, environment, 24X7 water supply, free travel in BEST buses to students in school uniforms, besides promises in areas like sanitation and treatment of waste water. BMC goes to polls on February 21.
Protracted negotiations between the two parties have failed to clinch a deal with both sides claiming larger number of seats than each is willing to concede. While BJP has staked claim for over 100 seats in the 227-member council, the Sena appears to be in no mood to yield to the ally's demands in its prime political space.
A senior BJP leader had virtually ruled out yesterday the possibility of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis resuming seat-sharing talks with Thackeray.