The timing behind the ongoing war of words between Maharashtra and Karnataka leaders on the long-pending border dispute is politically as significant for the Shiv Sena as it is for its former partner Bharatiya Janata Party in the run up to the 2022 elections for the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) — India’s richest civic body. With its renewed demand to incorporate Karnataka’s Marathi-speaking areas into Maharashtra, the Sena has unleashed a frontal assault to retain its supremacy in the BMC, which the party has been ruling for over 28 years. Joining forces with the saffron party are the Congress and the NCP, its partners in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in the state. The Sena is hoping to stand tall with its espousal of the Marathi Manoos plank – even as it embraces the ‘Secular’ programmes of its partners, and reaches out to the Gujaratis. This leaves the BJP treading on a tricky tightrope: the BJP-ruled Karnataka’s loud opposition to the demand will only provide political ammunition to the Sena-led alliance. The BJP’s Mission Mumbai 2022, which seeks to end Sena rule and elect its own mayor, must now make sense of the new duel “Mazi Mumbai vs Mumbai Nammde’’.