Mumbai (Maharashtra): The Republican Party of India (RPI) on Saturday said that it wanted to contest on 10 seats in the Maharashtra Assembly elections slated to be held later this year.
“In the state elections, RPI, Shiv Sena and BJP will contest the elections together. We have demanded 10 seats. I spoke to the chief minister in this regard and has assured me of positive response,” Athawale told reporters here.
It may be noted that RPI is a part of the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance in Maharashtra.
Athawale said senior RPI leader Avinash Matekar has got a ministerial berth in the expanded Maharashtra Cabinet and is set to take oath at the Raj Bhavan on Sunday.
“Tomorrow, the cabinet expansion will take place. The Chief Minister (Devendra Fadnavis) has fulfilled our demand and our party will get a ministerial berth. I had forwarded the name of our senior party leader Avinash Matekar.
(Cabinet minister) Chandrakant Patil informed me that he (Matekar) will take oath at Raj Bhavan at 11 am tomorrow,” he said.
“I express my gratitude to the Chief Minister, Amit Shah and Narendra Modi for fulfilling our demand,” the RPI president added.
Athawale also thanked BJP for appointing him as a Union Minister in the second term of the Modi government.
“I thank Narendra Modi for reposing faith in me and appointing me as a union minister. Around 60 to 70 per cent of Dalits had voted for the Modi government and that is why they won 303 seats while NDA got 353 seats,” said Athawale, who is Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment.
On Tuesday, Minister for Finance and Planning in the Maharashtra government Sudhir Mungantiwar had said the cabinet expansion will be done by Fadnavis before the Assembly’s monsoon session begins from June 17.
He had also said the cabinet expansion would help fulfil the expectations of the Shiv Sena and other NDA allies.