The senior the former Lok Sabha member and RPI leader Jogendra Kawade has lashed out at his fellow Republican Ramdas Athawale, who recently joined hands with Shiv Sena-BJP and said that he has deviated himself from the Ambedkar-Phule ideology.
Kawade criticized Athawale for betraying the cause of Dr Ambedkar by teaming up with the Sena-BJP alliance and said that the parties that indulge in the politics of religion are dangerous to the country and they are not congruent with Ambedkar philosophy.
"He (Athawale) should not use Bhamshakti to depict an alliance with the saffron parties in Maharashtra. It is not an alliance of Bhimshakti and Shivshakti, but a unity of Shivshakti and Athawale group in the state," he quipped.
Kawade, who was one of the architects of united RPI along with Athawale, that fought the last Assembly elections against the Congress and Sena-BJP in the state, said he was again trying for an RPI unity in the state against the Congress-NCP and the Sena-BJP.
Kawade asked how can Ambedkar’s followers form an alliance with parties that believe in caste systems and dominated by caste Hindus. "The alliance would not work out as Ambedkar’s followers would not be drawn towards the proposed combination," he said.
The former Lok Sabha member has convened a unity meeting on July 16 at Nagpur where former Maharashtra minister and leader of a splinter RPI group, Sulekha Kumbhare, another former Maharashtra minister Gangadhar Gade, former legislator Upendra Shende and several splinter factions of RPI have been invited to discuss, debate and consider the proposal to unite the dalits in the state. "I have not invited Athawale in the proposed meeting. Besides, Prakash Ambedkar, another influential dalit leader, too is not invited," he said and questioned their credentials on dalit politics in the state. "However, we have invited the rank and file of both the factions," he added.
To a question, Kawade dismissed the presumption that the new political combination of Athawale and Sena-BJP could be game-changer in the state.