MUMBAI: Soon after the Shiv Sena-BJP entered into an alliance, the smaller ally parties of BJP have started aggressively putting forward their demands for seats. Republican Party of India (RPI) led by Union Minister Ramdas Athavale wants one Lok Sabha and 16 Assembly seats, whereas Rashtriya Samaj Paksha (RSP) led by State Cabinet Minister Mahadev Jankar is demanding five Lok Sabha and 15 Assembly seats in the State.
Athavale represents the Dalit community, who wants only one Lok Sabha seat of South Central Mumbai constituency to contest for himself. This seat is currently with Shiv Sena and Rahul Shewale was elected from the constituency in 2014.
Jankar claims he is the leader of the Dhangar community and founder of RSP. Jankar had organised a public rally on March 5 at Shivaji Park ground to disclose party plans and demands.
Experts said Sena will not leave the seat for Athavale as he will be an ally with the BJP, hence should claim a seat which is with the BJP.
According to RPI leaders, the South-Central Mumbai has pockets of Dalit colonies and banking on these voters, they are confident over their victory from this seat. Ramdas Athavale is planning to meet Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray to swap the seat with Satara. NCP’s Udayanraje Bhosale won from this constituency.
Sena’s Rahul Shewale represents South Central Mumbai, whereas Satara constituency is represented by NCP MP Udayanraje Bhosale which is a tough seat for Shiv Sena to win.
Meanwhile, RSP wants Mumbai North East, Madha and Baramati constituencies. Madha and Baramati are said to be NCP’s bastion.
NCP Chief Sharad Pawar announced he will contest from Madha constituency while his daughter Supriya Sule may be the candidate from Baramati. Jankar, however, said his candidate will contest the election on their own political party’s sign instead of BJP’s lotus. “I am trying to make my party a national party, so my party candidates should not contest elections on BJP’s electoral symbol,” Jankar said.
Shiv Sangram is the third smallest ally of BJP and is yet to raise its demands. Vinayak Mete is the chief of Shiv Sangram and chairperson of State-appointed Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial Project Committee.