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Athawale claims Pawar invited him to join hands with NCP

Ramdas Athawale

Ramdas AthawaleMumbai: As major political coalitions in Maharashtra continue to squabble over seat sharing for the October 15 Assembly elections, attempts at poaching the rivalsare afoot with RPI(A) leader Ramdas Athawale today claiming he was invited by NCP chief Sharad Pawar to join hands with his party.

RPI(A) is a constituent of ‘Mahayuti’, a rainbow alliance led by BJP and Shiv Sena.

“Sharad Pawar called me up today and asked me to leave the Mahayuti and join hands with NCP to contest the upcoming state assembly polls. He said that he has been keenly watching the seat sharing problems in Mahayuti and asked me to reconsider my decision of staying on in the alliance,” Athawale told.

Athawale, however, said he had no plans to exit the Mahayuti “as yet”.

“I told Pawar that though there are seat sharing problems in Mahayuti, I am confident they will agree to give us at least 10 seats,” he said.

“Coming back to power in the state post-elections is possible only if the Mahayuti fights the elections as one force. I hope the seat sharing pact gets finalised soon so we have a clear pre-poll scenario in front of us,” he added.

Athawale, a Rajya Sabha member, was a long-standing ally of NCP but parted ways with it in 2011 and forged ties with the saffron coalition.

Despite going separate ways politically, he is believed to have maintained close personal equations with Pawar.

Meanwhile, when contacted, state NCP president Sunil Tatkare and party spokesman Nawab Malik said they had no information about any such development.

“We have not been intimated by the top leadership about any such development,” they said.


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