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Saturday, Dec 10, 2022

Maharashtra: Ravikant Rathod leaves Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi, joins Thackeray’s Sena

Ravikant Rathod who belongs to the Banjara community was second in command in VBA and had a sizeable following amongst the Banjaras in Maharashtra. Sources say Uddhav Thackeray is likely to field Ravikant Rathod against Sanjay Rathod in the next Assembly polls.

Meanwhile, VBA chief Ambedkar said that his organisation is not going to get affected “by one or two persons leaving us. We are not in politics for power." (Representational image)

In a major setback to the Maharashtra-based Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) founder and president Prakash Ambedkar, a senior leader of the party Ravikant Rathod joined Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena in Mumbai Friday. Ravikant Rathod who belongs to the Banjara community (nomadic denotified tribe) was second in command in the VBA and had a sizeable following amongst the Banjaras in various parts of Maharashtra. Ravikant Rathod along with 15 others from the community, including Mahant Sunil Maharaj of Poharadevi temple in Yavatmal district, tied ‘Shivbandhan’ band on their wrists showing their support to Thackeray-led Sena. Thackeray Sena was in search of a prominent Banjara face as Cabinet minister Sanjay Rathod who represented the Banjaras in the Shiv Sena had defected to the faction led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.

Sanjay Rathod is an MLA from Digras constituency in Yavatmal district. Thackeray’s Sena is likely to field Ravikant Rathod against Sanjay Rathod in the next Assembly polls, sources revealed. Ravikant who is originally from Majalgaon in Beed district of Marathwada had for long been with the VBA. “VBA has limited political scope. The problems of Banjara went unaddressed. So, we decided to join the mainstream Sena led by Thackeray,” he explained. Meanwhile, VBA chief Ambedkar said that his organisation is not going to get affected “by one or two persons leaving us. We are not in politics for power. We are committed to taking up the OBC cause. Fight against injustice against any community, caste or religion.”
First published on: 30-09-2022 at 02:36:12 pm
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