Union minister Ramdas Athawale Saturday said his Republican Party of India (RPI) wants an alliance with the BJP for the upcoming polls in four states and the Union Territory of Puducherry, as also for the 2022 Uttar Pradesh elections. He said talks will be held with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath this evening over an alliance in the state, and also with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president JP Nadda and Home Minister Amit Shah in due course.
"If the BJP leaves 8-10 seats, the RPI can be used to give a jolt to the BSP," he said talking about Uttar Pradesh, claiming that people in the state are getting disenchanted with the Mayawati's party and are shifting towards the RPI. On alliance in the poll-bound Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry, the RPI president said his party wants to contest these elections together with the BJP.
West Bengal election date 2021 schedule: Voting to be held in 8 phases, check full details
However, if it was not given seats by the BJP, the RPI would field its candidates on some seats and extend support to saffron party on the others, he said. He pointed out the Dalit constitutes 36 per cent population of West Bengal, and the BJP would benefit if RPI fights the election with it.
Athawale, whose RPI is a BJP allay at the Centre, said also praised the works done by Prime Minister Modi and Chief Minister Adityanath. Asked about any political understanding with Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad, Athawale said Azad is an "independent person, but if he joins my party he will be given an important post".
The Dalit leader extended Azad and BSP president Mayawati invitations to join his party. "If Mayawati comes, she would be given the post of the president of RPI and I will myself opt for the post of vice president as this is the party of Babasaheb (Bhimrao Ambedkar)," Athawale said.
When pointed out that the BJP was not inclined to give his party any seat, he said, "As of now, our organisation is not very strong but we are strengthening it at the district-level." He also claimed that the BJP would be getting more than 200 seats in West Bengal. "There is a resentment against the government in the state."
The NDA will form its government in four states and in Kerala too, it can succeed since people there are intending to hand over power to the BJP, he said. On the ongoing farmers agitation against the Centre's three agricultural reforms laws, he said, "Our government is not against farmers but if one law is repealed, there would be pressure to withdraw all laws. The government is ready for amendment in the farm law."
On the issue of Maharashtra Congress unit President Nana Patole's announcement to oppose film actors Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Kumar on the issue of inflation, the RPI president said that his party has decided to support the Bollywood stars. When questioned about his silence over inflation and why he does not criticise the BJP over the issue, Athawale said, "I do not raise my voice against the BJP as our two voices are the same."
To a question on Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's visit to Varanasi on the occasion of Sant Ravidas Jayanti, Athawale said she can visit whichever temple she wants but there is no future for the Congress till there is Rahul Gandhi. The RPI president demanded the landless people of Uttar Pradesh be given 5 acre land by the Adityanath government.
The union minister also said that Marathas in Maharashtra, Jaats in Haryana and Rajputs in Uttar Pradesh are demanding reservation and so they should also get 10-12% quota. He also said that the 2021 census be caste-based so as to find out the actual caste data on the country.