Thackeray-Athawale discuss united Oppn against Cong-NCP

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Bal Thackeray
Mumbai, May 9: Republican Party of India (RPI) leader Ramdas Athawale today (May 9) met Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray as a part of efforts to form an alliance with the Sena-BJP combine against ruling Congress-NCP in the state.

The meeting, held at the Sena chief's residence Matoshree in suburban Bandra, assumes significance as the high-profile elections to BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) are barely nine months away.

There are concerns in Congress-NCP that the prominent Dalit leader, who still commands a large share of Dalit votes, may wean away their traditional votebank.

Last week, Athawale, who has been disillusioned with Congress-NCP combine after his defeat in 2009 Lok Sabha polls from Shirdi constituency, met BJP chief Nitin Gadkari at the latter's office here, and proposed a joint opposition front to take on the ruling combine.

Today's meeting is being considered to be another important development in attempts to bring the Shiv Shakti (Sena) and Bhim Shakti'' (followers of Dr Ambedkar) together.

Athawale had so far stayed away from the saffron alliance due to its communal tag.

Meanwhile, Sena mouthpiece Saamana, in an editorial today, claimed that there was a new wave of awakening among Dalits. "The ties between Shiv Shakti and Bhim Shakti are ties of blood and nobody can break this bond," it said.

PTI

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