In a run up to the civic elections scheduled next year, the Shiv Sena is all set to have a electoral tie up with the Ramdas Athavale-led Republican Party of India (RPI).
Speaking after the hour-long high profile meeting with Athavale, Sena chief Bal Thackeray said the alliance will materialise shortly. "There is no reason to worry because the alliance will be formed soon," said Thackeray. He however declined to offer the exact date of the alliance, which is popularly called as the 'Bhimshakti-Shivshakti' force. Athavale however said the final details will be unveiled before October this year. Thackeray also announced that both the parties will unite to fight against the 'arrogant' state government and will launch street agitations.
RPI cadres present in full force outside Matoshree - Thackeray's residence, where the two leaders met - shouted slogans in support of the alliance.
Just last week, Athavale met Bharatiya Janata Party national president Nitin Gadkari with regards to the alliance.
The alliance assumes significance because the Sena-BJP alliance has been battered by the Congress-NCP alliance in both the 2009 parliamentary and assembly elections thanks to the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), which split its votebank. An alliance with RPI, which is one of the most influential outfits, can help the saffron alliance in the civic polls especially in the areas dominated by the backward classes.
However political observers said that the MNS factor forced the alliance.
"It is an opportunistic alliance which goes against the ideology propagated by Dr Ambedkar who was against hardline Hinduism. It is purely a selfish alliance to counter MNS," said Prakash Bal, veteran political analyst.
Athavale, one of strongest ally of the ruling alliance, turned against it after his defeat in the 2009 parliamentary polls. He also formed an independent front in the assembly polls, which fared poorly.
The MNS, however, dismisses any damage because of the impending alliance. "We are fighting for the rights of the native youth irrespective of their caste and such a selfish alliance will not affect us," said Shirish Parkar, MNS spokesperson.
Reacting on the development, NCP Chief Sharad Pawar said that the possible alliance between RPI and Sena would not make any difference on the forthcoming local self government elections.
"Any party is free to discuss anything with anybody. That it their right. But the partyworkers, who believe, in Phule-Ambedkar philosophy, should think seriously before taking any decision", he said.