August 8, 2009 4:05:34 am
A day after former MP Ramdas Athawale and other leaders of over a dozen factions of Republican Party of India (RPI) decided to merge their groups into a single outfit,Prakash Ambedkar,leader of Bharatiya Republican Paksha Bahujan Mahasangh (BRPBM),has refused to be part of the unification.
Athawale is attempting to unify all the RPI factions in the run up to the upcoming Assembly elections. However,Ambedkar,also the grandson of Dalit icon Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar,said on Friday that he would never join the RPI unification drama.
I dont want to be a party to this drama, Ambedkar said. Athawale is building up a vote bank for Sharad Pawar,who is being snubbed by the Congress, he added.
Ambedkar said if Athawale was serious about forging a unified RPI in protest against his defeat in the recent Lok Sabha elections due to Congress-NCP leaders,he would have snapped all ties with them. How come his lieutenant Preetamkumar Shegaonkar still continues to be a minister in the Ashok Chavan cabinet he asked,adding that immediately after refusing the NCPs offer of the Rajya Sabha nomination,Athawale should have broken away and undertaken the unity exercise.
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These are leaders who have lost their credibility and have been marginalised by the Congress and the NCP. I dont want to give sanjeevani (fresh lease of life) to the existing leaders, Ambedkar said. We need new leadership. These are all failed leaders.
He said when the need of the hour was to reach out to the have-nots irrespective of caste and religion and groom new leaders to take up contemporary issues,the existing RPI leaders were confining themselves to just Buddhists and exploring opportunities for personal political benefits.
Incidentally,the unification effort would not be complete without Ambedkar joining it,as the BRPBM has second largest following among Dalits,after the Athawale faction. Meanwhile,Athawale said the next meeting of the RPI factions would be held on August 11 and efforts would be made to convince Ambedkar.
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