RPI will not contest polls on BJP's symbol: Athawale

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The Athawale faction of the Republican Party of India, which is an ally of BJP in Maharashtra, on Thursday, made it clear that it will not contest the upcoming Assembly polls under the saffron party's Lotus symbol.

The RPI (Athawale) is headed by veteran Dalit leader Ramdas Athawale,  who is the Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment in the Narendra Modi government. Athawale is also a Rajya Sabha member elected by BJP's support.

According to him, the RPI (A) has also demanded 10 of the 18 seats the BJP-Shiv Sena is keeping aside for the alliance partners.

There are a total of 288 seats in Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, and the BJP is reportedly keen that the smaller allies contest the polls on its (Lotus) symbol for better winning prospects.

BJP's main alliance partner, Shiv Sena, feels that since all the four smaller allies in the state are from the BJP side, they will have to accommodate them from its quota of seats and the Sena will not compromise on its share.

The BJP’s alliance partners include RPI(A), Shiv Sangram Party, Rashtriya Samaj Paksha and Swabhimani Party.

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