Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment and Republican Party of India leader Ramdas Athawale on Thursday said the Bharatiya Janata Party had excluded his outfit from its alliance with the Shiv Sena, PTI reported. Athawale’s party is part of the ruling National Democratic Party Alliance at the Centre and he is a member of the Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra.
The minister claimed that he was instrumental in resolving the differences between the BJP and the Shiv Sena before the parties announced their alliance for the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in Maharashtra. “But they left us in the lurch by not giving any seat to the RPI,” Athawale said.
Athawale said the BJP should assign one seat to his party in Maharashtra if it wants to return to power. “If we do not get even one seat, votes of Dalits in Maharashtra for BJP-Shiv Sena will be affected,” ANI quoted him as saying. The minister said he will meet Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray to discuss his concerns.
“I had demanded Mumbai South-Central (Lok Sabha) seat, but they refused to give any seat.” The seat is currently represented by the Shiv Sena’s Rahul Shewale.
The Republican Party of India leader also criticised the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi led by Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. Athawale said the front was preventing people from the backward castes from occupying positions of power.
The minister asked the front’s leaders to join the RPI while claiming that its association with the BJP and Shiv Sena was stronger. “The future of Ambedkar’s front is bleak,” Athawale said. “Though it has managed to gather large number of people at its public meetings, it will not get translated into votes.”