The Shiv Sena-BJP combine in Maharashtra on Thursday forged an alliance with Republican Party of India (RPI) faction leader Ramdas Athawale ahead of the civic polls and announced a public rally on June 9 against the Congress-NCP government.

Mr. Athawale, Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray and senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde made the announcement at a joint press conference after an hour-long meeting attended by over 50 members of Shiv Sena-BJP and RPI in suburban Bandra.

“The Shiv Sena-BJP and RPI alliance will launch an agitation against corruption, price rise and for the welfare of dalits and deprived sections in the society,” Mr. Munde said.

“The alliance will launch its agitation on June 9 in front of Mantralaya and we will give a call of “chale jao” (go away) to the state Government”, he said, adding that a rally would also be organised at the Azad Maidan to protest against the government.

Taking a dig at Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, who had gone to Bhatta Parasul in Uttar Pradesh to express solidarity with agitating farmers, Mr. Munde said, “If Rahul Gandhi is so much concerned about the plight of farmers in Uttar Pradesh then he should come in Maharashtra, where large number of farmers commit suicide and do a “satyagraha” against the government, then his affection for farmers will be proved.”

Referring to the killing of anti-Jaitapur activist Tabrez Sayekar in police firing, Mr. Thackeray alleged that “the Maharashtra Government is firing on the protesters opposing the nuclear power project in Jaitapur and Rahul Gandhi is wiping the tears of farmers in Uttar Pradesh with the blood-stained hands.”