Mumbai: Shiv Sena, BJP and RPI (Athawale faction) on Monday made a formal announcement about fighting the upcoming local bodies polls in Maharashtra together, under the 'Shiv Shakti-Bhim Shakti' banner.

"We will contest all the upcoming elections in the state, whether it is for the municipal councils or municipal corporations, together," senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde told reporters here.

Shiv Sena Executive president Uddhav Thackeray and RPI leader Ramdas Athawale were also present at the joint press conference, held in suburban Bandra here, following talks on
seat-sharing for the upcoming polls for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

Earlier on Monday, the leaders also held a secret meeting before making the official announcement about the alliance.
Munde clarified that Shiv Sena and BJP have decided to strike an alliance with Athawale's RPI in May this year, to fight against issues like corruption, inflation and atrocity against Dalits, among others.

He claimed that Shiv Sena and BJP had never fought over seat-sharing in the past as well.

Alleging that Maharashtra has taken a back-seat in terms of development, the BJP leader said the 'Shiv Shakti-Bhim Shakti' alliance would bring about a change by providing a
good governance, after throwing the ruling Congress-NCP government out of power.

Thackeray said, they have decided not to join hands with Congress or NCP at the local level. "We have decided not to form any direct or indirect alliance with Congress or NCP at the local level," he said.

"Appropriate seat-sharing will be carried out. By the end of December or by early January, a rally will be organised, which will be addressed by Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray, senior BJP leader L K Advani and other top leaders from the parties," Thackeray added.

Claiming that the RPI has a good understanding with the Sena-BJP, Athawale said, "We have warned our cadres at the local level not to form an alliance with Congress or NCP.
Action will be taken against those, who will go against the party strictures for selfish interests."

BJP Mumbai president Raj Purohit said, "By the end of November, final decision on the seat-sharing for BMC elections would be taken."

196 municipal councils, 27 Zilla Parishads, 305 panchayat samitis and 10 municipal corporations in the state, including the Shiv Sena-controlled BMC, would go to polls between
December 2011 and March 2012.

Agencies