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'NCP Approached Me Recently': Ally Athawale's Veiled Threat to BJP

The minister said the final decision on the alliance will be taken by March 10, when he is slated to meet the Maharashtra chief minister.

Vinaya Deshpande | CNN-News18

Updated:March 9, 2019, 2:38 PM IST
'NCP Approached Me Recently': Ally Athawale's Veiled Threat to BJP
File photo of Union minister Ramdas Athawale.

Mumbai: Union minister Ramdas Athawale, who is upset with the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance in Maharashtra, has said he has been approached by the Nationalist Congress Party but has decided to not join hands with the Sharad Pawar-led party. In an exclusive interview to CNN News18, Athawale said he will independently field six-seven candidates in Uttar Pradesh in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

“I am angry with the BJP and Shiv Sena because at a time when both of them were unwilling for an alliance, I was the only one who kept talking about it publicly. And when they decided to join hands, they didn’t even call me. They didn’t tell me. Actually, that press conference should have happened in my presence. Now, I hope that the BJP gives its seat to me. I want to fight Lok Sabha elections from Mumbai. I want to fight from Mumbai North East, which is with the BJP. I am sure that the BJP will sacrifice that seat for me. Because in return it will get Dalit votes from the entire state,” Athawale told CNN News18.

He added that he had been approached by the NCP recently. “They told me, they knew I was unhappy and that they wanted to make me happy,” he said. However, Athawale added in the same breath that he did not intend to join the NCP or Congress. “The Congress has humiliated me in the past. There is no question of going with them” he said.

The minister said the final decision on the alliance will be taken by March 10, when he is slated to meet the Maharashtra chief minister.

Talking about the political scenario in Uttar Pradesh, Athawale announced that he will field at least seven candidates from his party. The candidates will fight independently as the BJP hasn’t accepted any proposal from Athawale for the allotment of seats.

“Priyanka Gandhi's entry in politics will help BJP. The votes going to SP and BSP will go to Congress, thereby helping BJP,” he said.

When asked about Mayawati calling the BJP ‘Manuwadi’, he said she had no right to do so. “She became the CM for three terms because of BJP's support. How can she now conveniently call them ‘Manuwadi’?” he asked.

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