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Updated: August 24, 2009 19:40 IST

Third front formed in Maharashtra ahead of Assembly elections

PTI
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Mr. Ramdas Athawale. Photo: Subir Roy
Mr. Ramdas Athawale. Photo: Subir Roy

Two months ahead of Maharashtra assembly elections, 16 parties, including the RPI which is part of Ashok Chavan government, on Monday floated the Republican Left Democratic Front with the aim of providing an alternative to the ruling Congress-NCP alliance and Shiv Sena-BJP combine.

After the first meeting of the Front, which also comprises parties like CPI(M), CPI, PWP, JD(S) and Samajwadi Party, RPI leader Ramdas Athawale said the alliance was not here to split votes, but make a serious attempt to capture power in the state.

He scotched rumours that he may not continue as part of the Front due to his closeness to NCP president Sharad Pawar.

There is no question of joining hands with Congress and NCP. It is likely that the two parties may not contest the elections together. In that case, we stand a good chance of winning some seats, Mr. Athawale told reporters.

Asked if he would ask his colleague and state minister Pritamkumar Shegaonkar to resign from the Congress-NCP cabinet, Athawale said, I will think over it.

On whether his father R S Gavai, who was made Governor of Kerala by the Congress-led central government, would resign, Rajendra Gavai, another RPI leader, said his father was not a member of any political party.

Mr. Gavai said the Chief Ministerial post would go the RPI. The Front will sound its election bugle with a rally at Shivaji Park on September 12.

CPI(M) state secretary Ashok Dhavale said that their grand alliance will contest all the 288 seats.



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