Friday, February 11, 2011

[ZESTCaste] After Thackeray, Munde invites Athavale for tie-up

After Thackeray, Munde invites Athavale for tie-up
Neha Ghatpande, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, February 11, 2011

First Published: 01:28 IST(11/2/2011)
Last Updated: 01:29 IST(11/2/2011)

After Sena chief Thackeray, it was senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde's
turn to woo Dalits. Burying past differences, he shared the dais with
the Republican Party of India (RPI) leader Ramdas Athavale at a
public meeting on Thursday at Ghatkopar, the irony of the venue

Ten dalits were killed in police firing at Ramabai Nagar in Ghatkopar
during Munde's tenure as home minister in 1997.

In a move to woo Dalits, Munde said, "Time has come to form an
alliance with us as the Dalits have not benefited from the current
ruling parties."

"History is witness to the fact that any alliance supported by the
Dalits is catapulted to power," he said.

However, Athavale, who is currently in the state of wilderness
following his exit from the Congress-NCP alliance, did not commit
himself openly but hinted at a possible alliance with the saffron

"After all that has happened, I am forced to think about this
proposal," said Athavale. He regretted the lack of unity among the
various factions of the Republican Party of India (RPI).

The deceased were part of the crowd protesting against the desecration
of the statue of Dr Ambedkar. Dalits had demanded Munde's resignation
for supporting the firing while Athavale was assaulted and chased away
when he came to visit the grieving families. Dalits voted
overwhelmingly against the saffron alliance in the next elections,
which was one of the major reasons of their exit from power.


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