The executive committee of the Republican Party of India (RPI) passed a resolution demanding that the saffron alliance allot at least 10 seats to the party in Maharashtra assembly elections. The party has threatened to walk out of the alliance otherwise.
RPI chief Ramdas Athawale warned that he will not tolerate any more insults by the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance. “We want more than 10 seats or else we will have to rethink our association with the alliance,” said Athawale. “The Sena-BJP should remember that they cannot win power in the assembly elections if we do not partner with them because we have a massive vote bank across Maharashtra,” he added.
Athawale has been angered by the fact that the Sena-BJP has been talking with new allies such as the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana headed by Raju Shetti, Rashtriya Samaj Paksha led by Mahadeo Jankar, while conveniently ignoring them.
“We are the oldest ally and we should get more seats than these new allies,” he added.
Another factor for the party’s discontent is that in the Lok Sabha elections, the RPI was allotted just one seat, which it lost by a considerable margin. In addition, Athawale was not accommodated in the Union ministry despite all his attempts.
The RPI initially demanded 59 ässembly seats, which it then brought down to 30, then 15 and now 10.
The Sena-BJP, however, wants to restrict RPI to five seats. “We already have seat-sharing problems with the Sena and other allies. We will convince the RPI to compromise,” said a BJP leader, on condition of anonymity.