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If Mayawati Joins Hands with NDA, I Would Welcome It: Ramdas Athawale – News18

Published By: Aashi Sadana

Last Updated: August 30, 2023, 22:31 IST

Replying to a question on the BSP, Athawale said, I will welcome if Mayawati joins the NDA.

(File Image/PTI)

The Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment was talking to reporters in Maharashtra’s Jalna before a meeting of his Republic Party of India (Athawale)

Union minister Ramdas Athawale on Wednesday said he would welcome if Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati decides to join hands with the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA). He, however, said that it was up to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which heads the NDA, to decide about inviting the BSP to become part of the front.

The Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment was talking to reporters in Maharashtra’s Jalna before a meeting of his Republic Party of India (Athawale). Athawale’s statements came in the wake of Mayawati earlier in the day ruling out the possibility of joining hands with either the BJP-led NDA or the opposition’s INDIA alliance, saying that all parties are eager for an alliance with the BSP.

She made the comments in a series of posts on microblogging site X, a day ahead of the INDIA alliance’s meeting in Mumbai during which the opposition leaders are expected to chalk out a joint campaign strategy to take on the BJP-led NDA in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Replying to a question on the BSP, Athawale said, “I will welcome if Mayawati joins the NDA.

She works for the Dalit community…But it is up to the BJP to decide whether to invite her party to join the NDA.” “The BJP is fully capable of contesting elections independently in Uttar Pradesh. But even if she joins hands with the Samajwadi Party (SP), there would be no effect on the BJP in the elections,” he said.

Athawale extended good wishes to the INDIA alliance for its two-day meeting in Mumbai, and said, “I believe in a strong opposition for healthy democracy and wish that it remains robust.” He, however, also took a dig at the INDIA alliance, saying that it should remain in the opposition even after the 2024 elections.

“Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the NDA would retain power,” he said.

Athawale also suggested that reservation for the Maratha community should be given on the basis of the economic criteria rather than under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) quota.

After the Supreme Court struck down reservation on the social criteria, the Maratha community is demanding reservation from the OBC quota.”It would be more appropriate to provide reservation based on the economic criteria,” he said.

Referring to the next year’s Lok Sabha and Maharashtra assembly elections, he said his party would demand two parliamentary seats and 10-12 assembly seats to contest. He, however, clarified that his party would not contest elections against the Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA), saying that the latter also works for the Dalit community.”We neither criticise nor engage in confrontations with each other. We both work for the betterment of the Dalit community,” Athawale said. He asserted that Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde would continue to occupy the position for the remaining term.

When asked about the opinion expressed by Bibek Debroy, the chief of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM), about replacing the Indian Constitution, Athawale said the PM does not intend to replace the existing Constitution.

Earlier this month, the EAC-PM distanced itself from its chairman Debroy’s article suggesting embracing a new constitution, and said the article in no way reflects the views of EAC-PM or the Government of India.EAC-PM is an independent body constituted to give advice on economic and related issues to the Government of India, specifically to the prime minister. Debroy is the chairman of the Council.

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)

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