BSP emerges as an alternative to RPIs in Vidarbha polls
Pradip Kumar Maitra, Hindustan Times
Nagpur, February 19, 2012
The increasing might of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the virtual fall
of Republican Party of India (RPI) in its stronghold in Vidarbha,
particularly in Nagpur have raised many eyebrows in the region after
the local bodies' elections.
Nagpur has been the citadel of RPI where Dr
Babasaheb Ambedkar converted to Buddhism in 1956 but the BSP has dealt
a severe blow to their vote bank in the recent elections.
BSP earned 12 seats in the Nagpur Municipal Corporations alone while 6
seats in the neighbouring Amravati municipal corporation and their
candidates finished second in 30 wards, giving a threat to the RPI
politicians. Moreover, the party got one seat in Akola Municipal
In Nagpur, it got 10 seats from north and south Nagpur assembly
constituencies—predominantly dalit areas which are considered as RPI
citadel and dalit voters are the deciding factor for the state
In Akola, where Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar's grandson Dr Balasaheb Ambedkar
has a considerable clout, the party could manage to win only seven
seats and the BSP also made its presence felt in the elections.
The BSP also fared well in entire Vidarbha's Zilla Parishad elections
and emerged as the top party for Dalits and backward classes by
winning eleven seats while all RPI factions could manage to win only
Milind Pakhale, chief of RPI (Ambedkar) in Nagpur, admitted that the
traditional RPI factions have lost their credibility among the voters
because of their hobnobbing with the ruling class as well as the
saffron combine which was cleverly used by the BSP in the region.
"We are assessing the entire issue and would rectify our mistakes.
This was lesson for us in our stronghold and we would certainly work
to reclaim our share of votes in the next elections," he said.
Nagpur has been a significant power base of RPI where they ruled the
civic body for several years but all the three RPI factions could
manage only four seats. RPI (Kawade ) failed to win a single seat
while Prakash Ambedkar faction got two while former state Maharashtra
minister Sulekha Kumbhare and Ramdas Athavale factions received a seat
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