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BJP will lose seats but retain power in 2019, says Union minister Athawale

Also asserts that as long as Rahul Gandhi leads Congress, PM Narendra Modi will continue to win elections

mumbai Updated: Mar 25, 2018 00:35 IST
Swapnil Rawal
Swapnil Rawal
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,ramdas athawale,RPI
Athawale said the RPI will file a review petition in the Supreme Court to challenge the judgment on the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. (HT FILE)

Union minister of state for social justice, Ramdas Athawale, said that the tally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) could come down in 2019 general election, but the party will win and the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will again form the next government at the Centre. Athawale was addressing the media on Saturday at Sahyadri state guest house in Malabar Hill.

The general elections in the country are slated to be held in April-May next year. However, there are speculations that the elections may be preponed to the latter half of 2018. Athawale-led Republican Party of India (RPI) is an ally of the BJP governments in both the Centre as well as in the state.

When asked about the Karnataka assembly elections, Athawale launched a scathing attack on Congress president Rahul Gandhi, and said that there is no competition between Gandhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“As long as Rahul Gandhi is the leader (of Congress), Narendra Modi will continue to win elections,” Athawale said.

He said that the RPI will file a review petition in the Supreme Court on its own to challenge the judgment on the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

“RPI will file an intervention petition against the Supreme Court’s order on SC/ST Act, as we are not satisfied with the order. There could be some cases of misuse of the Act, but it helps in the protection of the marginalised section of the society,” Athawale said.

On March 20, the apex court, in a bid to prevent misuse of the SC/ST Act, ruled that preliminary enquiry in a case under the Atrocities Act would be conducted by the concerned DSP to ensure that the allegations against the accused are not frivolous, and to avoid the false implication of an innocent person. The SC held that there is no absolute bar for granting anticipatory bail in a matter under the Act.

Commenting on the relations between the Shiv Sena and BJP, Athawale said that the Sena should fight the Congress and not the BJP. He added that whatever stand the Sena has adopted against the BJP is helping the Congress. Athawale added that if the Sena and BJP do not enter into a pre-poll alliance, the former will be at loss.

Nirupam calls Fadnavis a liar, says Maharashtra has lost IFSC to Gujarat

Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam slammed chief minister Devendra Fadnavis for the latter’s claim related to the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in Mumbai, saying that it was a “blatant lie” and the project was no more realistic. Fadnavis had said in the legislative council on Friday that though the central government has proposed the IFSC in Gujarat, the Maharashtra government was determined to set up another such centre at Bandra-Kurla Complex on its own.

Nirupam said, “A business hub of this magnitude requires a 50-hectare area, as per international norms. There is no such space available at the BKC. Secondly, after the Union government has decided to set up one such centre in Gujarat, another at BKC does not remain feasible. Fadnavis is just lying to save face, as Maharashtra has lost the IFSC to Gujarat, after Modi took the reins at the Centre in 2014.”

Reacting to Nirupam’s comments, the BJP said he had got his facts wrong. “Nirupam has got his facts wrong once again. An IFSC set up in 1987 in Dublin, Ireland is on 11 hectares of land, as per the information available on Wikipedia.This means there is no specific norm related to the minimum area required for the Centre. Nirupam should study the facts properly before making such absurd remarks,” said Krishna Hegde, city vice-president, BJP.

First Published: Mar 25, 2018 00:35 IST