The former Lok Sabha member and the Republican Party of India leader Ramdas Athawale on Thursday asserted that nobody could prevent him to forge an alliance among the Shiv Sena, BJP and RPI against the Congress-NCP combination in Maharashtra in the ensuing elections.
Addressing a massive joint workers' meeting of Sena-BJP and RPI on Thursday evening he said that the present Congress-NCP alliance would be thrown out by the new combination in coming elections.
He also lashed out at the deputy chief minister and NCP leader, Ajit Pawar for criticising Balasaheb Thackeray and ridiculed the NCP and its leaders being panicked into the move as they have realised that it would seriously damage them in state politics.
Athawale said that for two decades the RPI was stuck with the Congress ideology. But apparently the Congress played the Dalit vote bank politics as a means to win power and position. "The Congress would rely on Dalit vote in Lok Sabha and Assembly elections but would forget us in local bodies' elections. This stunted the RPI growth at the grassroots and also caused disarray in Dalit leadership," he pointed out.
"I am not saying the NCP and Sharad Pawar did nothing for me. I was made a minister and four of my party men were made ministers. Later I was given chance to contest and win Pandharpur Lok Sabha seat. But things changed after that. One thing led to another and I had to part ways with the NCP in 2009," he added.
The RPI leader dismissed the alleged vicious campaign that the Ambedkarites joined hands with the communal forces. That is a wrong perception. "I will never deviate from the patch of Ambedkar-Fule ideology. On February 25 I just happened to pay a courtesy visit to Balasaheb Thackeray to greet him on his birthday. In a casual conversation, Balasaheb remarked that Shiv Shakti (represented by Sena) could work wonders along with Bhim shakti ( Babasaheb Ambedkar ideology). The idea appealed to my party colleagues too. The BJP was also roped in. Later I met BJP president Nitin Gadkari and Gopinath Munde to discuss the prospects and remove any misgivings," he said.
This new combination is being tested to find new social, economical possibilities to uplift the Dalits who have remained in the penumbra of powerless existence ditched by vote bank politics of the Congress and the NCP. History shows that Babasaheb Ambedkar was defeated by the Congress in 1952 and 1954 (from Bhandara Lok Sabha seat). The Dalit icon had called the Congress a `house on fire' and asked people to abandon it and form an anti-Congress political force. I am on the same path. There is nothing unholy in it. We want to see the Congress and the NCP out of power, to pay its price for ignoring the Dalits on whose votes they rule the state and the country. In past Dalit leader Khobragade too had chosen Jan Sangh as an ally.
He urged his workers to join the proposed massive morcha against corruption in Mumbai on June 9. "The Mumbai morcha would show our strength and it would be a befitting reply to those who are undermining us," he quipped.
The Rajya Sabha member and Sena leader Sanjay Raut, the senior BJP leaders, Chainsukh Sancheti and Nana Padole also spoke on the occasion and justified the alliance.