Angered by the BJP’s reluctance to give it a ministerial berth in the Centre, the Republican Party of India (RPI) indicated its willingness to ally with the Shiv Sena in the 2017 BMC elections.
The Bhiwandi unit of the RPI has already broken ties with the BJP alleging that the local legislator was responsible for the murder of its worker.
Addressing the media, RPI chief Ramdas Athawale said the alliance with the BJP in the 2017 civic polls will depend on the respect and power share offered to the RPI by these parties.
“If the Sena-BJP decide to fight the elections separately, we will ally with the one who offers us a bigger share of power,” said Athawale.
“The BJP may be our natural partner but if it does not take into account our concerns, we will ally with the Sena,” he added.
“We want the post of the mayor as well as the chairmanship of the standing committee, along with representations in various other civic committees,” he added.
He said the RPI will demand 70-80 seats from its ally. “I am going to take the assurances in writing,” he added.
Athawale also targeted the local Bhiwandi BJP legislator for the murder of his party worker.
“I am going to meet chief minister Devendra Fadnavis demanding a probe into the murder as well as action against the BJP legislator,” he added.
Both the Sena and BJP have indicated their willingness to contest next year’s Mumbai civic elections on their own strength and are currently locked in a bitter war of words blaming each other for everything that is wrong with Mumbai.
Giving the electoral mathematics where civic elections are won by slender majority, the support of the RPI could play an important role in many areas. The BJP cannot afford to alienate its key ally especially when it aims to win the BMC on its own as it enjoys good support in Dalit pockets in the city who vote en-masse in every elections,
However Athawale advocated that he would strive to bring about an alliance between the Sena and BJP.