BJP nominates Dalit leader for M'rashtra RS seat

Dalit leader and chief of Republican Party of India (A) faction Ramdas Athawale has been nominated by the BJP for its Rajya Sabha seat in Maharashtra.

Athawale will file his nomination on Tuesday, the last day for filing Rajya Sabha nominations, on a ticket from the BJP quota, held by its spokesperson Prakash Javadekar, who is among the seven retiring members from the state, said RPI spokesperson Mayur Borkar.

Late Bal Thackeray had managed to get the RPI to join the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance just before the 2012 Mumbai municipal corporation elections; the move shocked progressive outfits, as the relationship between Dalit groups and right-wing groups like the SS and the BJP have always been strained, many a times spilling over in the form of internecine clashes.

The three groups were collectively called the Grand Alliance, and early this month, it also roped in the Swabhimani Sanghatana, a powerful peasantry-rooted organisation operating in the sugar-belt of Maharashtra.

Interestingly, the Shiv Sena, holding two seats in the state, while not announcing the name for one of the seats on Monday, decided to re-nominate industrialist Rajkumar Dhoot for the other seat.

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