Maharashtra assembly polls: Shiv Sena lashes out at Ramdas Athawale for allying with BJP

Hitting out at Ramdas Athawale for isolating it by forging an alliance with BJP for the Maharashtra Assembly polls, Shiv Sena today said the RPI(A) chief has "betrayed" dalits, whom he represents.

Uddhav Thackeray

"Ramdas Athawale switched sides to make an alliance with the BJP only to grab the goodies offered to him in the form of a Central minister's position for himself, 10 per cent of the government control and some MLCs. By switching sides, he (Athawale) has betrayed the followers who trusted him," the Sena alleged in an editorial in party's mouthpiece 'Saamana'.

Athawale should introspect whether his followers support the decision taken by him, it said. After the split of its 25-year-old alliance with Sena, the BJP had last week managed to isolate the saffron outfit by cobbling up an alliance with all the smaller parties of the earlier 'Mahayuti'.

The BJP worked out a deal with Raju Shetty's Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, Athawale's Republican Party of India, Vinayak Mete of the Shiv Sangram and Mahadeo Jankar's Rashtriya Samaj Party, who were given 31 of the total 288 seats for the October 15 Assembly polls.

The editorial said if BJP had been serious about giving respect to the followers of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar, it would have agreed to the demands of Athawale long time back.

"The BJP today is in power at the Centre and hence can give a ministerial berth to Athawale. But he, (Athawale) had
been demanding a ministerial berth from a long time. The BJP did not think of giving respect to the followers of Ambedkar then by agreeing to his demands," it said.

The editorial further said that Athawale parted ways with the Sena without having the support of Ambedkar's followers.

"Today we did not have anything to offer you (Athawale). But we had given you our word, that you will be the Deputy CM of the state post elections. But you chose to leave us. But the support of the followers of Ambedkar remains
with us," the editorial added.

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