Union Minister Ramdas Athawale voiced discontent with the treatment of his party, the Republican Party of India (A), by its ally, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Athawale stated that despite being a 12-year ally, the RPI(A) was overlooked in the seat-sharing process for Maharashtra`s impending Lok Sabha Elections 2024. He claimed that while new partners were given preference, his party`s name was nowhere to be found. Athawale raised the concerns of RPI workers who felt mistreated and marginalised inside the alliance, reported PTI. 

He was quoted in the report as saying, “But, unfortunately, the name of RPI(A) is nowhere to be seen in the seat-sharing process. New partners are being given preference, while my party, which has been an ally of BJP for 12 years, is neglected.”

He added, “The Mahayuti (ruling alliance) was formed after RPI supported BJP-Shiv Sena in the 2012 BMC elections. The Mahayuti did not get formed because Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena and Ajit Pawar joined. There is a complaint among RPI workers that the party is not getting respect. They expressed it in today`s meeting here.”

Per the PTI report, Athawale claimed that he had asked for two seats for his party to contest during Lok Sabha Elections 2024, especially Shirdi and Solapur, but to no effect. He emphasised the necessity of resolving RPI workers` concerns and stated that if the BJP did not provide two seats, they should consider what else could be supplied to the RPI(A). Athawale announced intentions to meet with Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to communicate his party`s thoughts.

Athawale also stated a number of demands, including cabinet-rank jobs at the national and state levels, federation chairman roles, MLC positions, and a considerable number of state election seats, reported PTI. He emphasised the RPI`s unflinching support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi while lamenting a lack of consultation and inclusion in alliance decision-making processes.

“We will demand that RPI should get one cabinet rank position in the Centre. In the state, they should give us one cabinet post, chairman positions in a couple of federations, and other positions. We will demand at least one MLC position and at least 10 seats in the state elections,” Athawale said.

He further claimed, “The RPI is strongly standing with PM Narendra Modi. However, party workers believe RPI is being insulted and I have been asked to take an appropriate decision. The RPI is not taken into confidence, the party is not being summoned for any meeting, and there is no discussion with the party over seat-sharing.”

Athawale encouraged the BJP to change its position on Shirdi`s Lok Sabha seat, stating that the RPI(A) may win it. He also voiced dissatisfaction with the omission of his photograph on alliance posters with other major leaders. Overall, Athawale`s words shed insight into the BJP`s fragile relationship with its long-standing ally, the RPI(A).

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