2.5 lakh turn up for saffron-RPI rally
By: Varun Singh Date: 2011-06-10 Place: Mumbai
A TURNOUT of 2.5 lakh at Azad Maidan despite heavy showers yesterday
brought happy tidings for the Shiv Sena-BJP-RPI alliance and led to
talk of the parties having the requisite support to win the BMC
elections next year.
The rally was organised to protest against the central and state
governments for their roles in corruption, price rise and dalit
Uddhav Thackeray, Ramdas Athavale and BJP leaders on the dias during the rally
The biggest gainer, perhaps, was the Shiv Sena, a partner in the
coalition which is ruling the current BMC, which had almost gone out
of contention thanks to the MNS and other factors.
The RPI and Ramdas Athavale's entry, however, seems to have infused
renewed confidence in the Sena ranks, which has made the opposition
parties sit up and take notice.
So much so that the Congress and NCP, partners in the Democratic Front
alliance which is in power in the state, have labelled the alliance an
ATM one, after Athavale-Thackeray-Munde, as part of their attempts to
stop people from flocking to them.
While senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde was conspicuous by his absence
at the rally, other leaders made it a point to draw attention to the
resurgent alliance and take potshots at the Democratic Front.
Vinod Tawade, senior BJP leader said, "This ATM will dispense money
for the poor instead of the Congress-NCP ATM, which only takes money."
Ramdas Athawale, who managed to keep the audience glued with his
oratory and drew applaud with his shayaris, said he had spent 20 years
with the Cong-NCP alliance and would spend at least 10 with the Shiv
Sena-BJP one, prompting Uddhav Thackeray to say that he would ensure
the alliance lasted a 100 years.
Athavale, who was criticised heavily by the Opposition for giving up
his ideology and going along with the Sena said, "I was with the
Congress and NCP for a long time, but they never did anything for the
Hence, we have come to this alliance and we are sure that these
parties will help us fulfil our promises and work for our community."
Senior Sena-BJP leaders said that the reason for bringing the RPI in
was not the number of corporators they have in the BMC (three, against
the Samajwadi Party's eight) but the party's vote share and draw with
"It is not about the number of corporators RPI has in the current BMC
but about the vote share. The RPI has a good base in most pockets
which, when combined with that of the Sena-BJP, will surely affect the
Congress and the NCP as both parties have decided to go solo in the
elections," said a Sena leader.
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