RPI disinvites CM Fadnavis from state-level convention
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ stand on the Bhima Koregaon violence has led to him being disinvited from the Republican Party of India’s (Athawale faction) state-level convention. After receiving negative feedback from workers, the RPI decided to keep the CM away from its state-level convention despite having invited him earlier.
The party’s two-day state-level convention has been organised in Pune on Saturday and Sunday (May 26-27).
While the RPI had earlier invited Fadnavis as the chief guest, party workers were disappointed with the CM’s stand on the violence which ensued on January 1 near Bhima Koregaon, particularly the clean chit Fadnavis gave to rightwing leader Sambhaji Bhide.
Earlier, Ramdas Athawale, RPI leader and union minister, had invited the chief minister for the state-level convention. However, sources within the RPI have confirmed that the party has decided to request the chief minister to not attend the convention despite the invitation.
The state-level party office-bearers met Athawale and discussed the issue with him. Athawale, according to party leaders, has given nod to cancel the invite and will inaugurate the event himself.
The state-level convention will be held at SSPMS ground near the Regional Transport Office (RTO). The RPI leaders said that if the chief minister would have been present for the function, there were chances that other groups within the RPI will get a chance to criticise the Athawale faction.
Around 100 vehicles were burnt and several houses damaged during violence that broke out when lakhs of Dalits had gathered at Bhima Koregaon to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the battle between British and Peshwas.
After the violence, Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar had alleged that Bhide and Milind Ekbote were responsible for it. He also called for a Maharashtra bandh which got good response across the city. Since maximum Dalits are shifting to Ambedkar instead of Athawale, the RPI (Athawale) wing is already thinking of sharing power with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).