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Maharashtra polls: Arjun Dangle supports Shiv Sena, defies Athawale's decision to back BJP

Arjun Dangle, a spokesperson of Ramdas Athawale-led Republican Party Of India, today declared support to Shiv Sena for the next month's Maharashtra assembly elections.

Following the split-up of Shiv Sena-BJP alliance, Athawale, whose party was a part of `Mahayuti' headed by the two saffron parties, has thrown in his lot with BJP. Shiv Sena earlier today accused Athawale of siding with BJP only because he had been offered a minister's post at the Centre and some other allurements.

"I am not joining the Shiv Sena. I have met (Sena chief) Uddhav Thackeray only to lend my support to the Sena for the upcoming Assembly elections to respect Balasaheb Thackeray's call of uniting Bhimrao Ambedkar's supporters and Sena supporters. I took this step keeping the future of Maharashtra in mind," Dangle told PTI.

Asked about the reports that he was unhappy with Athawale for denying him an Assembly ticket, Dangle said," Athawale was giving me a ticket from Vikhroli in Mumbai. But he offered it too late. And I was anyway involved in the distribution of tickets, so the question of not getting a ticket does not arise." Several RPI workers would be supporting Shiv Sena, he claimed.

Athawale, on the other hand, said Dangle's decision shocked him, and Dangle himself had advised him to opt for BJP. "I am very hurt....I had sought advice from the leaders of my party, He (Dangle) was one of those who advised me to go with BJP. I appeal him to come back to the RPI," Athawale said.

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