Republican Party of India (A) leader and Union Minister Ramdas Athawale will not to part ways with the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance, despite expressing dissatisfaction at being “overlooked” during the seat-sharing arrangements for the Lok Sabha polls in the state. Many of the party’s disgruntled leaders, however, are already on their way out to “protest” against the treatment meted out to the Dalit leader.
Athawale had sought two seats for the RPI(A) — one from Mumbai and the other from the remaining part of Maharashtra — citing that it was needed to keep his party workers enthused to work for the alliance. Later, he sought at least one Lok Sabha seat for his party, but reportedly received no response.
“I had a discussion with the BJP leaders and they have now assured me a berth in state Cabinet and also position on various welfare corporations to the RPI(A). Thus, I have decided to stick to the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance despite not being given any ticket in the Lok Sabha elections. The ruling alliance have been on the path of development, so there is no need to disturb it,” Athawale said.
However, several RPI(A) leaders reportedly expressed “dissatisfaction” on being ignored by the ruling alliance. Mahesh Shinde, head of RPI(A) labour wing, quit the party recently to join the NCP.
“I have quit the RPI(A) because I could not stand the treatment meted by the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance to the party and its chief (Athawale). The NCP treats everyone with affection,” he said.
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Shinde added that the BJP-led government has been “creating rift” in society on the basis of caste and religion. “They say one thing and have different things on their mind. It was necessary to keep distance from such communal-minded parties. It is good to work with the NCP and the Congress for the benefit of the poor and farmers, and I would tour the entire state to appeal to voters for the NCP-Congress alliance candidates,” he said.
Disgruntled at being kept out of the seat-sharing arrangement by the BJP-Sena alliance, RPI(A) leader Hanumant Sathe resigned as the chief of the Matang community wing of the party recently. “I have resigned from the post of chief of Matang wing of RPI(A). This is to convey the displeasure over the treatment given to RPI(A) by the ruling alliance,” he said.
Sathe said he has not left the party so far and would take a decision only after discussing it with his supporters. “The Matang community in the state has suffered due to wrong policies of the state government. I have to take the sentiments of the supporters before taking any decision,” he said.