M'rashtra polls: RPI reluctant to fight on BJP symbol

M'rashtra polls: RPI reluctant to fight on BJP symbol

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Ramdas Athawale. (File Photo: IANS)
Mumbai, Sep 5 (IANS) The Republican Party of India (A) President Ramdas Athawale has made it clear that his party was not prepared to contest the upcoming Maharashtra assembly elections on the Bharatiya Janata Party's symbol.
Speaking to mediapersons on Thursday, he said the RPI(A) would contest on its own symbol and not on the symbol of the BJP - the senior alliance partner in the state.
"We have also demanded 10 of the 18 seats the BJP-Shiv Sena is keeping aside for the alliance partners," Athawale said, shortly before kicking off the party's pre-poll rally in Mumbai this evening.
However, BJP sources indicate that the two main partners are yet to finalise their seat-sharing arrangements for which talks are going on.
There are 288 seats in the Maharashtra Assembly, and the BJP is reportedly keen that the smaller allies contest the polls on its ('Lotus') symbol for better winning prospects.
Sena circles point out that since all the four smaller allies in the state are from the BJP side, it (BJP) would have to accommodate them from its quota of seats and that the Sena would not compromise on its share.
The BJP's alliance include RPI(A), Shiv Sangram Party, Rashtriya Samaj Party and Swabhimani Party, and political circles say it is unlikely the BJP would spare so many seats from its quota for them (the smaller allies).
Though the tricky seat-sharing is yet to be finalized, it is expected that the BJP-Sena will share an equal number of seats and a few seats from the BJP quota would be allotted to the allies.
Interestingly, in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, despite repeated pleas, the ruling alliance did not allot a single seat to any of the allies, including Athawale who was keen to contest Mumbai North-East constituency.
Nevertheless, since he is already a Rajya Sabha member, he was inducted into the Union cabinet as Social Justice Minister and his current term will expire next year.

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