Alliance With RPI Soon, Thackeray Meets Athawale

Mumbai, May 9: Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray today said that an alliance with Republican Party of India (RPI) will be formed soon.He however refrained from announcing the exact date of alliance of 'Shiv Shakti'
alliance with rpi soon thackeray meets athawale -...
PTI May 09, 2011 18:33 IST

Mumbai, May 9: Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray today said that an alliance with Republican Party of India (RPI) will be formed soon.

He however refrained from announcing the exact date of alliance of 'Shiv Shakti' and 'Bhim Shakti' (Dalits, who form RPI's support base).

"There is no need to worry about our (Shiv Sena-BJP's) alliance with RPI, as it will materialise soon", Thackeray told reporters after meeting Dalit leader and former RPI MP Ramdas Athawale at Thackerays' residence 'Matoshree' in suburban Bandra here.

His son and Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray, and a few other Dalit leaders too were present.

The meeting assumes significance as the high-profile elections to BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) are just nine months away.

Alleging that the ruling government in state and at centre had become "arrogant", the Sena patriarch said that the government had been "presenting us with issues on a platter, for us to launch agitations".

"The government's autocratic nature can be seen from the various issues which have led to protest from the people in the country, including the proposed nuclear power project in Jaitapur in Ratnagiri district and the farmers' protest in Uttar Pradesh", he said.

Asked about bringing the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts' prime accused, Dawood Ibrahim, to justice, Thackeray said, "May be I will have to do something about him when our government comes to power."

Athawale had met Thackeray in January and was given a proposal to form an alliance by the Sena chief.

"The discussion on forming an alliance with Sena-BJP is going on in a positive manner and it will be formed before October," Athawale told reporters. 

There are concerns in Congress-NCP that the prominent Dalit leader, who still commands a large share of Dalit votes, may wean away their traditional votebank.

Last week, Athawale, who has been disillusioned with Congress-NCP combine after his defeat in 2009 Lok Sabha polls from Shirdi constituency, met BJP chief Nitin Gadkari at the latter's office here, and proposed a joint opposition front to take on the ruling combine.

Athawale had so far stayed away from the saffron alliance due to its `communal' tag.

Meanwhile, Sena mouthpiece `Saamana', in an editorial today, claimed that there was a `new wave of awakening among Dalits". "The ties between `Shiv Shakti and Bhim Shakti' are ties of blood and nobody can break this bond," it said.  PTI

 
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