In a move that could see realignment of political forces in Maharashtra, Republican Party of India (RPI) leader Ramdas Athavale on Saturday mooted the idea of a united opposition front against the ruling Congress-NCP coalition in the state.
He met BJP's national president Nitin Gadkari in Mumbai on Saturday to discuss the proposal of "issue-based" unity among all the opposition parties. Athavale, a former Lok Sabha MP from Shirdi, had been a long-time ally of the NCP.
Dalits, who form backbone of RPI's following, comprise 28 per cent of Maharashtra's electorate.
"Despite our ideological differences, we can put up a united front against corruption, unemployment, price rise and also the autocratic manner in which the government is planning to go ahead with the Jaitapur nuclear power project," Athavale told reporters after arriving at the BJP office.
Athavale said he would urge Gadkari to take steps to forge a united opposition against the ruling coalition at the national level as well.
He said he would meet Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray and Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday in this connection.
Criticising the Congress-NCP, Athavale said dalits had been subjected to injustice in their rule.
"They think they can capture power without dalit leaders. They will be proved wrong," Athavale, still smarting under his 2009 Lok Sabha election defeat, when he had a tie-up with NCP, said.