Even as the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) ponder over a pre-poll alliance for the upcoming district and civic elections, the Shiv Sena and the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) have officially announced their tie-up with the Republican Party of India (Athavale).
The decision to team up took place after a meeting between Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray, senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde and RPI chief Ramdas Athawale at Bandra on Monday.
Munde, who described the alliance as a 'historical development', said that the RPI was likely to bring in the non-saffron voters in the city and the alliance had the potential to give the Congress a tough fight. “This alliance will be kept intact to fight elections across all local bodies — from zilla parishad and civic polls to assembly elections,” Munde said. Thackeray added that the RPI would be an equal partner in the alliance and would not be treated as it had been in the past [by the Congress]. “We are with the RPI and will not have any alliance with NCP or Congress,” Thackeray added.
RPI leader Ramdas Athavale said that he was keen on extending the partnership to assembly elections where the RPI would join the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
The RPI-SS-BJP alliance could now force the Congress and NCP to come together and announce their poll strategy.