You won’t get Dalit votes if RPI (A) is ignored: Athawale warns Shiv Sena, BJP

Mumbai (Maharashtra): Upset over being ignored by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena for a pre-poll alliance, Republican Party of India (Athawale) chief Ramdas Athawale warned that if his party is not given representation, the alliance would “lose the votes of Dalits.”

Shiv Sena and BJP should not leave behind RPI (A) because if we don’t get any seat then Dalits will not vote for them. I believe if BJP, Shiv Sena and RPI(A) join hands in Maharashtra, we can win 43 to 44 seats,” he told ANI.

In a joint press conference in Mumbai alongside BJP president Amit Shah and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Monday, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had formally announced the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance for the upcoming Lok Sabha and state Assembly elections.

In response to this, Athawale said although he is happy that the two parties joined hands, the RPI (A) is upset over not being included in the alliance.

“There was not a possibility of an alliance between the BJP and Shiv Sena as there was a rift between them. We are happy that they decided to come together in the presence of Amit Shah, however, we are upset with the fact that they didn’t consider our party or think of offering us a single seat.”
Athawale also asserted that he would like to contest from Mumbai South Central seat.

“One seat should be given to our party. It was RPI (A) who brought them together in power. Forgetting that, they kept us aside and announced their seats. Now, we want to get Mumbai South central seat and I myself want to fight elections from there. I have talked to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis about it and even told him that our party should get representation in the Lok Sabha,” the Union Minister added.

The Shiv Sena will fight on 23 seats and BJP on 25 seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra, where 48 seats are at stake.

The two parties have agreed to contest an equal number of seats in the Assembly polls.