Shiv Sena, BJP didn't spare a single seat for RPI in Maharashtra alliance, says Union minister Ramdas Athawale

Nagpur: Union Social Justice Minister and RPI (A) president Ramdas Athawale rued Saturday that his party was not spared a single seat by NDA allies BJP and Shiv Sena while announcing their alliance for the coming polls.

In politics "doors are always open" but he still wanted the next government to be formed under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership, the Dalit leader said in Nagpur.

"We are happy that the Shiv Sena and BJP have come together, but they did not leave a single seat for RPI, and this is unfortunate. RPI had been instrumental in garnering votes for the BJP in the 2014 Assembly elections (in Maharashtra)," Athawale told reporters.

Shiv Sena, BJP didnt spare a single seat for RPI in Maharashtra alliance, says Union minister Ramdas Athawale

File photo of Ramdas Athawale. Firstpost

His party should have been taken into confidence by the Sena and BJP while sealing their deal, he said. The RPI was not even called for the joint press conference (held Monday to announce the alliance), he said.

"Our party cadre and people are disappointed that RPI is not getting a single seat. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and (Sena chief) Uddhav Thackeray should think about our demands," the Union minister said.

RPI leaders will be meeting in Mumbai on 25 February to discuss this issue, he said. His party was not thinking of switching allegiance to the Congress, Athawale said.

Asked if he had met NCP supremo Sharad Pawar recently, Athawale answered in the negative. "I got a message from (NCP leader) Chhagan Bhujbal inviting me for a meeting. But I replied that our stand is still not clear, so nothing will come out of a meeting. Let's see. In politics, doors are always open," he said. "If injustice continues, then we will see what to do."

Overcoming their strained ties, the BJP and Shiv Sena on 18 February announced a seat-sharing pact for the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in Maharashtra. The BJP will contest 25 and the Shiv Sena 23 of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra.

The two parties said they will contest equal number of seats, after allotting allies their share, in Assembly elections, which are due this year.

Talking about his visit to families of CRPF personnel from Maharashtra who were killed in the Pulwama terror attack, Athawale urged the Dalit youth to join the armed forces in large numbers.

He has demanded reservation for Dalits in the Army as they are very brave, he said.

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Updated Date: Feb 24, 2019 11:42:52 IST

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