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Athawale extends olive branch to NCP MP Udayan Raje Bhosale

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Republican Party of (RPI) president Ramdas Athawale today created a flutter when he said that the party would offer ticket to sitting MP from Satara Udayan Raje Bhosale if the latter wished so.

The offer came against the backdrop of reports that the scion of the Maratha royal clan was sulking in the Sharad Pawar-led NCP and the RPI move to try social engineering for the 2014 elections.

"Udayan Raje Bhosle of Satara could be offered RPI candidature for Lok Sabha if he is willing," Athawale told reporters here.

Bhosale had last month senior leader and president in Mumbai, setting alarm bells ringing in the NCP camp.

Upping the ante on allocation of seats to his party, which is the constituent of the 'Mahayuti' comprising Shiv Sena and BJP, Athawale reiterated that his party be allotted 30-35 Assembly seats and 4 out of 48 Lok Sabha seats in the state for the 2014 elections.

"The Shiv Sena-BJP combine will need RPI's support to de-throne the ruling Congress-NCP government in the state," he said.

Athawale said that he had met Munde in this connection and the latter assured him of taking a call on his demand after Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray returns to from abroad.

"RPI has already prepared a list of 60 constituencies in the state where the Dalit party has good presence and can short-list some 30-35 seats (for its candidates)," the RPI leader said.

Athawale said that RPI wanted to field candidates for Lok Sabha elections from the constituencies of Ramtek, Latur, Pune, either South-west Mumbai or Kalyan and will consider Satara if Bhosale does not accept its offer to contest.

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