Republican Party of India (A) which had earlier demanded 59 seats from the BJP-Shiv Sena to contest the upcoming Maharashtra assembly polls, has failed to garner enough candidates. It has now toned down its demand to 13 seats considering the "ground reality".
The party could provide a list of only 13 candidates when Sena-BJP asked them to provide a list of ticket-seekers.
Sena-BJP are unlikely to give even 13 seats to RPI. And the reasons for this are many: the Ramdas Athawale-led party neither has any charismatic leader nor a base barring a few pockets in Mumbai and Western Maharashtra. It doesn't have any MLA or MP anywhere in India. Athawale himself is a Rajya Sabha member.
Though the list doesn't figure actress Rakhi Sawant's name who recently made headlines by joining RPI, it does include Avinash Matekar (Kurla), Arjun Dangle (Bhandup), Deepak Nikalje (Chembur) and PK Jain (Colaba). This was confirmed by Borkar Jain, the ex-additional DGP, who had quit the police force and joined the party early this year.
Jain and Athawale could not be contacted. RPI spokesperson Mayur Borkar, however, said, "We have finalised 13 names till now. More names could be added later on."
Incidentally, Sena and BJP are having a high-level meeting to decide seat share. Every single seat is being discussed with great care as they attempt to encash on the huge Lok Sabha win and attempt to dethrone the ruling democratic alliance of Congress-NCP, which is facing a tough time due to infighting.