RPI aligns with BJP in Maharashtra

Mumbai: Isolating the Shiv Sena totally, the Republican Party of India-A Saturday announced it has decided to ally with BJP-led ‘Grand Alliance’ in Maharashtra.

“We had detailed discussions with the BJP leaders today (Saturday) and they have accepted most of our demands as well as to work for the welfare of the Dalits in the state,” RPI-A president Ramdas Athawale said.

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“The BJP has also assured to seriously consider the issues of the Dalits, including housing in cities like Mumbai, so we have decided to ally with them,” he said.

The development followed a series of meeting with state Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, capped by a meeting with BJP president Amit Shah who was in Mumbai.

With this, the BJP has secured the support of all the four other constituents of its old alliance with the Shiv Sena, from which its 25-year-old alliance broke up Thursday.

These include: RPI-A, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, Rashtriya Samaj Paksh and Shiv Sangram.

While Athawale has demanded 10 assembly seats, the BJP has so far conceded eight seats, besides a share in power if the alliance formed the government after the Oct 15 elections.

Among other things assured is a central cabinet berth for Athawale, representation in half a dozen central committees besides a 10 percent share of posts at the state level and also in various state corporations.