RPI(A) gives Sena, BJP ultimatum till tomorrow for 18 seats

Ramdas Athawale-led RPI on Wednesday gave an "ultimatum" till tomorrow afternoon to Shiv Sena and BJP to allocate at least 18 seats to smaller constituents of 'Maha Yuti', saying the party will have a rethink on its continuation in the rainbow alliance should the saffron partners failed to oblige to their demand.

PTI| Updated: Sep 24, 2014, 22:50 PM IST

Mumbai: Ramdas Athawale-led RPI on Wednesday gave an "ultimatum" till tomorrow afternoon to Shiv Sena and BJP to allocate at least 18 seats to smaller constituents of 'Maha Yuti', saying the party will have a rethink on its continuation in the rainbow alliance should the saffron partners failed to oblige to their demand.

"We have met senior leaders of the BJP and Sena today and conveyed our party's stance that smaller alliance partners need to be given at least 18 seats to contest elections. If they fail to do that we will have to think of parting our way," senior RPI(A)leader Arjun Dangle told reporters here on the sidelines of his meeting with BJP leadership in suburban Mumbai.

Dangle said that RPI(A) will wait only till tomorrow afternoon before taking the decision.

"Athawaleji, who is in Delhi, will be reaching Mumbai tomorrow morning. Post his return, we will convene a party core meeting tomorrow and will decide on our course of action," he added.

The saffron combine has four junior partners in 'Mahayuti', cobbled together ahead of Lok Sabha elections, including Raju Shetty's Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS), Mahadev Jankar's Rashtriya Samaj Party (RSP), Vinayak Mete's Shiv Sangram besides Republican Party of India (RPI).

Earlier in the day, three parties, namely SSS, RSP and Shiv Sangram had threatened to quit 'Mahayuti' over 'paltry' allocation of seats for October 15 Assembly polls.

However, they climbed down from their stand later following an assurance from Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray that they will be given a "respectable" number of seats.

Swabhimani Shetkari Sangathana leader and Lok Sabha MP Raju Shetty told reporters after his meeting with Sena chief that they have presented a formula to Uddhav, wherein Sena gets to keep 150 seats, BJP 120 and allies 18.

RPI, which hardsells itself as a dominant dalit party, had contested 79 seats in 2009 state Assembly elections but drew a blank whereas SSS and RSP had contested 14 and 26 seats respectively, and won one seat each.