Not consulted before BJP-Shiv Sena alliance deal, feel isolated, say smaller allies

The smaller parties like the Republican Party of India (RPI-A), the Rashtriya Samaj Paksha (RSP), Rayat Kranti Sanghatana (RKS) and Shiv Sangram, who are all allies of the ruling BJP, seem to be in dark about their role in polls.
Hindustan Times | By Naresh Kamath, Mumbai
UPDATED ON FEB 21, 2019 07:37 AM IST

While the BJP and Shiv Sena sealed an alliance for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, the smaller allies are sulking as according to them, they were not consulted during negotiations.

The Republican Party of India (RPI-A), the Rashtriya Samaj Paksha (RSP), Rayat Kranti Sanghatana (RKS) and Shiv Sangram, who are all allies of the ruling BJP, seem to be in dark about their role in polls.

According to RKS chief Sadabhau Khot, who is a state minister, the deal was an injustice to his party. “Our party was expecting to contest the Hatkanangale seat and as a minister I undertook lot of developmental work in that constituency. My workers are feeling let down ,” said Khot.

Currently, the seat is being held by Raju Shetti of the Swabhimaan Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS), of which Khot was a member,before leaving it to form RKS.

Similar is the reaction of RPI group, headed by union minister Ramdas Athawale. Athawale had announced that he would be contesting from the Mumbai South Central constituency, currently is represented by Sena MP Rahul Shewale. The Sena is unlikely to leave the seat for Athawale. “In 2014, there used to be joint meetings of BJP-Sena and smaller parties, but this time we are completely isolated. It seems, the BJP-Sena are not interested in our votes,” said RPI general secretary Avinash Matekar.

In 2014, smaller parties played a crucial role in BJP’s win both in the Centre and state elections. However, after the elections, they have been complaining of getting a raw deal. Athawale was made the union minister after lot of haggling, but was given an insignificant portfolio. Other allies — RSP and RKS — were accommodated in the state ministry, but Shiv Sangram chief Vinayak Mete was not made a minister. Mete was given the post of chairman of Shivaji Memorial steering committee. Even promises to accommodate leaders of smaller parties in various state corporations were not honoured by the BJP.

The RSP, led by state minister Mahadev Jankar, also seems to be angry. “We will hold a massive rally on Sunday and spell out our stance,” said Jankar. Party workers said Jankar was again preparing to contest the Baramati seat against NCP MP Supriya Sule. In 2014, Jankar lost from Pawar’s bastion by just 69,719 votes, giving a fright to Sule who always won by large margins.

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