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RPI flexes muscle, wants Athawale in Modi cabinet

mumbai Updated: May 30, 2016 12:06 IST

MUMBAI: The Republican Party of India (A) said it will not accept any MLC (member of legislative council) seat or ministerial berth in the state cabinet until its chief Ramdas Athawale was inducted into the Union cabinet.

This comes in the backdrop of the possible expansion of the Union cabinet and ensuing elections for the 10 seats of the legislative councils.

RPI leaders met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday and conveyed their stand. According to RPI leader Avinash Mahatekar, “For the last two years, we have been pursuing the matter through various means but the BJP is just giving assurances with no results. We finally took the decision that we will not accept anything till our leader Ramdas Athawale is made a Cabinet minister in the Centre,” said Mahatekar.

The BJP wants Athawale to move back to state politics if he wants a ministerial berth. However, Athawale declined, saying he is interested in working at the national level.

Apart from RPI, other allies are also angry with the BJP for failing to accommodate them. The Rastriya Samaj Paksha (RSP) has announced that they would contest the 2017 civic polls independently. The Swabhimaan Shetkari Paksha (SSP) is also sulking. BJP has reportedly assured one seat each of the legislative council to RPI, SSS and Vinayak Mete-led Shivsangram.

In the 2014 assembly polls, the BJP allied with these smaller parties and reaped rich dividends. However, in the last two years, the BJP failed to accommodate them.

Now, with the 2017 civic and zilla parishad elections approaching, all small parties are flexing their muscles which could give BJP a tough time.

First Published: May 30, 2016 12:06 IST