Athawale's party gives ticket to Chhota Rajan's brother

Ramdas Athawale, Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment speaking in a press conference. (DH Photo)

The Republican Party of India (A), an ally of the ruling BJP, has fielded Deepak Nikalje, brother of jailed underworld don Chhota Rajan, from Phaltan Assembly constituency in Western Maharashtra.

The RPI, led by Union minister Ramdas Athawale, has been given six seats as part of the seat-sharing deal between the BJP, Shiv Sena and other smaller allies for the October 21 state elections.

Athawale announced the candidates in Mumbai on Wednesday.

Nikalje, who has been with the RPI for several years, had earlier unsuccessfully fought assembly elections from Chembur in Mumbai on the party's ticket.

"This time he expressed willingness to fight the election from Phaltan since he hails from that area and has a good network there," said a senior RPI leader.

Other five seats where RPI would be fielding candidates are Malshiras in Solapur district, Bhandara and Naigaon in Nanded district, Pathri in Parbhani and Mankhurd- Shivaji Nagar in Mumbai.

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