Maharashtra Assembly Polls: After criticism, Athawale's RPI drops Chhota Rajan's brother Deepak Nikalje from Phaltan

Ramdas Athawale's RPI had announced Nikalje's name on Wednesday.

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Chhota Rajan's brother Deepak Nikalje with RPI chief Ramdas Athawale

A day after announcing underworld don Chhota Rajan's brother Deepak Nikalje as its candidate, the Republican Party of India (Athawale) on Thursday changed its nominee from Phaltan assembly seat in Maharashtra. 

The Ramdas Athawale-led RPI-A has been allotted 6 seats by the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance in Maharashtra. Their candidates will, however, contest on BJP symbol lotus. 

The RPI will contest Phaltan (Satara), Malshiras (Solapur), Bhandara, Naigaon (Nanded); Pathri (Parbhani) and Mankhurd- Shivaji Nagar in Mumbai.

Union Minister Ramdas Athawale's RPI, an ally of the BJP-led NDA at the Centre and in Maharashtra, had announced Nikalje's name on Wednesday.

However, following criticism, the party changed its candidate from Phaltan seat, announcing Digambar Agawa's name from the constituency in Satara district. 

Nikalje had earlier unsuccessfully contested from the Chembur assembly seat as RPI candidate in 2004, 2009 and 2014. He was given the Phaltan seat as Chembur has gone to Shiv Sena this time. 

The RPI has announced candidates for all six seats. Gautam Sonawane will contest from Mankhurd- Shivaji Nagar, Arvind Bhaladhare from Bhandara, Rajesh Pawar for Naigaon, Mohan Fad from Pathri, Dr Vivek Gujar from Malshiras and Digambar Agawa from Phaltan. 

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