Underworld don Chhota Rajan’s brother replaced as Maharashtra assembly poll candidate
Instead of Deepak Nikalje, local leader Digambar Agawane will contest from the seat, senior RPI leader and Maharashtra minister Avinash Mahatekar said.Updated: Oct 05, 2019, 07:13 IST
A day after the Republican Party of India (Athawale) fielded Deepak Nikalje, the brother of jailed underworld don Chhota Rajan from Phaltan in Satara district for the October 21 assembly polls, the party on Thursday decided not to field him from the seat in Western Maharashtra.
The party has now fielded local leader Digambar Agawane from the Phaltan seat, senior RPI leader and Maharashtra minister Avinash Mahatekar said.
He said Agawane will contest the election on BJP’s ‘lotus’ symbol. Mahatekar said though Nikalje was from Phaltan, he never lived there.
“Agawane, who is a local RPI (A) leader, has been announced as the party’s candidate from Phaltan,” said Mahatekar.
The RPI (A), led by Union minister Ramdas Athawale, is an ally of the BJP.
Deepak Nikalje’s candidature was announced by Ramdas Athawale on Wednesday. The Athawale-led party has been given six seats as part of the seat-sharing deal between the BJP, Shiv Sena and other smaller allies for the October 21 state elections.
“RPI will contest on six seats from Maharashtra including Phaltan, Malshiraj, Bhandara, Naigaon, Pathri and Mankhurd-Shivajinagar,” said Athawale.
Athawale announced the candidates, including the name of Nikalje, in Mumbai on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, RPI workers from Pune decided to stay away from the BJP’s poll campaign to protest against the Dalit party not getting any assembly seat in the city.
“We were hoping to get the Pune Cantonment seat from Pune. However, it seems that BJP took us for granted and did not give a single seat.
“There is a great disappointment and anger against the BJP among RPI party workers in Pune and that is why no party worker took part in their nomination filing rallies,” said a release issued collectively by several RPI leaders from the city.
The release stated that party workers and leaders from Pune have decided they will stay away from the BJP’s poll campaign in the city.
Mahatekar said the disappointment and anger of RPI workers is natural, but expressed the hope they will change their mind and take part in the campaign.
“We will try and persuade them,” he said.
October 4 is the last date for filing nominations.
(With PTI Inputs)