If the civic body's improvements committee election held on April 8 is any indicator of the equations political parties are going to share in the upcoming municipal elections, then the Republican Party of India (RPI) led by Ramdas Athawale may join hands with the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance.
A 'disgruntled' RPI has indirectly helped a nominee of the saffron combine to win chairmanship of the civic improvements committee.
BJP candidate corporator Balchandra Shirsat had 13 corporators on his end and 13 in the Opposition. However, Subhash Bansode from the RPI and a Samajwadi Party (SP) candidate abstained from the election thus ensuring Shirsat's win against Congress candidate Upendra Doshi.
The 26-member committee takes decision regarding land use in Mumbai, which includes deciding on policies such as the open spaces policy, changing of reservations and acquiring plots as per the development plan.
Although speculations of the RPI joining the saffron brigade have been making the rounds, the election is an indication that the party is keen on the alliance.
"A proposal to join hands with the Shiv Sena and the BJP for future municipal elections is in the offing. We are certainly not going with the Congress and the NCP since they have used the Dalit card to get votes and never given us anything in return," Athawale said. He had alleged that he had lost the last parliamentary elections from Shirdi after Congress leader Balasaheb Vikhe-Patil worked against him.
Sources in the BJP indicated that Athawale met Gopinath Munde a day before the election.
"I did not meet anyone," Athawale said, adding, "but Bansode has been promised a plum post at the ward committee for abstaining and there is nothing wrong with that."
In February, while addressing a party gathering Athawale for the first time said that the RPI had not been given their due and was being ill-treated.