Athavale's alliance with saffron camp has Cong-NCP worried
Prafulla Marpakwar, May 22, 2011, 12.35am IST
MUMBAI: The crisis-ridden Congress-NCP alliance is now worried about
RPI president Ramdas Athavale's decision to join hands with the
saffron combine led by Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray, particularly
in view of the ensuing BMC polls.
Though MPCC president Manikrao Thakre and Mumbai Congress chief
Kripashankar Singh declined to comment, a senior NCP minister on
Saturday confirmed that the political impact of Athavale's decision
was discussed at length at the Congress-NCP coordination committee
meeting. "It is unfortunate that Athavale joined hands with such
political parties, which always opposed the ideology of Dr Ambedkar.
Before taking the decision, Athavale should have taken note of Shiv
Sena's history," the minister said.
Veteran Dalit leader Athavale snapped his two-decade old ties with the
Congress and later with the NCP after he was ditched by the
Congress-NCP alliance during the 2009 Lok Sabha polls and subsequent
assembly elections. As part of the electoral understanding, the
Congress-NCP did offer the reserved Shirdi parliamentary seat to
Athavale but never ensured his victory. In fact, when Athavale lost
the polls to Shiv Sena's Babasaheb Wakchoure, a former chief executive
officer of the Shirdi temple trust, he mounted an attack against
Congress and NCP leaders, saying that he was defeated by design. "It
was a conspiracy of the Congress and NCP to ensure my defeat,"
Athavale had said.
Since then, Athavale was weighing other political
After his defeat, Athavale called on Thackeray and later, BJP
president Nitin Gadkari. Subsequently, Athavale had a joint meeting
with Thackeray and BJP leader Gopinath Munde and decided to set up a
joint front, which will meet in Mumbai on June 9.
A senior Congress minister said ever since Athavale lost the polls, he
was at loggerheads with the Congress and NCP, but no efforts were made
to pacify him. As a result, he had no option but to approach the Shiv
Sena. "Athavale's main goal is to take the Congress-NCP alliance to
task and we will not be surprised if he succeeds in his plan," he
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