BJP picks RPI’s Athawale as its Rajya Sabha nominee

A formal decision will be announced by BJP’s central parliamentary board in Delhi.

Mumbai | Updated: February 6, 2014 12:58 pm

In a bid to rally Dalits around itself ahead of Lok Sabha polls, the state BJP Saturday decided to recommend the name of RPI president Ramdas Athawale for its lone Rajya Sabha seat from Maharashtra.

A formal decision will be announced by BJP’s central parliamentary board in Delhi.

Polls for the seven Rajya Sabha seats in the state will be held on February 7.

The unanimous decision on Athawale was taken at a meeting held in Mumbai, which was attended by top leaders of BJP, Shiv Sena, RPI and Swabhiman Shetkari Sanghatana.

BJP’s national spokesperson Prakash Javdekar, who currently holds the seat, was also in contention along with party leader Shaina NC.

Accounting for 10.6% of the voters in the state, Dalits have traditionally been Congress supporters who the BJP-Sena-RPI (A) grand alliance is seeking to wean away.

“We welcome BJP’s decision to allocate its Rajya Sabha seat to Athawale. It shows the party’s commitment towards sharing power with Dalits,” RPI (A)’s Arjun Dangle said.

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