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Left out of Narendra Modi sarkar, Ramdas Athavale goes in a sulk

Tuesday, 27 May 2014 - 7:00am IST | Agency: dna

While the Shiv Sena is unhappy over allotment of only one cabinet berth, Rajya Sabha MP Ramdas Athavale, who heads the Republican Party of India (RPI-Athavale), is in a sulk after being left out of the Modi sarkar.

Athavale had broken his almost two decades of association with the Congress, and later, the NCP, to join the Shiv Sena and BJP alliance in 2011. He has been elected to the upper house from the BJP's quota and was lobbying for a ministerial berth.

As it became clear on Monday that the prominent Dalit leader had missed the bus, one of his associates said their leader, who was in Delhi, went to an "undisclosed location." Athavale's mobile was also switched off.

Athavale was once a part of the Dalit Panthers, which fought violent street battles with the Shiv Sena. Critics say RPI today is just a group of Buddhist Dalits instead of encompassing marginalised sections like other Dalits and tribals. It has failed to carve out a wider constituency, they say.

"We have around 15 to 20,000 votes in each assembly constituency. The Modi factor was at work in Maharashtra, but our influence in the Sena-BJP's victory cannot be discounted," said the leader.

Another party leader said that they were dejected but the BJP had assured them that it would consider Athavale's case when the cabinet was being expanded. He said, "After all, they have to think about the state assembly polls in Maharashtra due later this year."

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