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Former IAS officer Uttam Khobragade, father of diplomat Devyani Khobragade, has decided to take the electoral plunge but is yet to make up his mind on the party on whose ticket he would contest the Lok Sabha polls.
Khobragade hinted that he may contest the Lok Sabha elections from Chandrapur in Vidarbha region, a constituency represented by BJP leader Hansraj Aher for the last four terms. Khobragade hails from Chandrapur district. Khobragade was here to attend a function and was accompanied by his daughter Devyani, whose arrest in New York had triggered a diplomatic row between India and the US.
Khobragade said that he has been flooded with offers from several political parties, including the Republican Party of India (RPI-Athawale) which even offered him the post of party's working president. "So far, I have not decided which party to join. I have got offers from two more parties apart from RPI (A)," he claimed.
Khobragade called for unity among the Dalit parties and populace. "Several RPI factions would not be in the interest of the community," he said and criticised Athawale for joining hands with the Shiv Sena.
He also lashed out at Dalit officers serving in the administrative services for playing "puppets to the rulers" and alleged that more atrocities are committed against Dalits by Dalit officers than anyone else.
"When I was in the administrative services, the politicians found me uncomfortable to work with as I stood by the Dalits. Hence, I was transferred frequently," claimed Khobragade who also owns a flat in the controversial Adarsh Housing Society in Mumbai.
Devyani also spoke on the occasion and said she could get into the foreign services because of reservation policy but it did not mean that Dalits were inferior to any other section of the society.
"You should not be ashamed to make use of the reservation in services and other areas," she said and told Dalit youths to work even harder to make their mark in society.