Pune polls 2012: Congress gets Dhasal, saffron has Athavale
Published: Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012, 14:41 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Pune | Agency: DNA
While the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance is hopeful
of gaining Dalit votes with Republican Party of India (RPI) leader,
Ramdas Athavale joining it, the Congress is moving to gain ground in
western Maharashtra by joining hands with Dalit Panther leader, Namdeo
Dhasal who was disgruntled over seat-sharing issues in the civic
Addressing a press conference at Congress Bhavan on Monday along with
ministers Harshwardhan Patil and Patangrao Kadam, Dhasal announced
that Dalit Panther has decided to go along with the Congress in
western Maharashtra. However, it will remain a part of the
mega-alliance of Shiv Sena-BJP-RPI in Mumbai.
Dhasal met Kadam, Patil and other Congress leaders at Congress Bhavan.
He has demanded from the Congress party five seats in the PMC and
three in PCMC elections.
After the meeting, Dhasal told reporters, "I faced only disappointment
in the mega-alliance but it was too late to fall out of it. I also did
not want to do any harm to Ramdas Athavale's alliance with the Shiv
Sena and the BJP, therefore I took a decision to go with the
mega-alliance in Mumbai. However in case of western Maharashtra, I
have decided to go with the Congress party."
Dhasal will remain a part of the mega-alliance in Mumbai, Nashik and
Nagpur, but in PMC and PCMC he will contest elections in alliance with
the Congress against the mega-alliance as well as the Nationalist
Congress Party (NCP).
Dhasal said, "Earlier, I had refused to get involved in electoral
politics, but now it is realised that the Dalit population requires a
representation in the assembly. Therefore, we have decided to go in
for the elections. However, Dalit organisations cannot contest
elections alone and they will have to make an alliance with the
national parties and thus the alliance has been formed."
Dhasal's party has had a long alliance with the Shiv Sena. However
recently, his relations with the Shiv Sena have gone sore and now he
has taken a decision to support the Congress in western Maharashtra.
When Dhasal was asked about the change of stand, he said, "Earlier we
had worked with Indira Gandhi, but during the Emergency, Dalit Panther
became friends with Shiv Sena and we worked together. But now we have
decided to support the Congress party again."
Dhasal made it clear that he will not go along with the NCP as their
political stands are opposite.
The city Congress, which wanted a Dalit face for the upcoming
elections, was happy with the alliance. The minister for forests,
Patangrao Kadam said, "Namdeo Dhasal is an ideologist and with the
help of this alliance a Dalit ideology has come with the Congress,
which will benefit us in the upcoming elections."
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