Republican Party of India (Athavle faction) has postponed its proposed "Maratha-Dalit solidarity" rally for indefinite period, apparently at the behest of ruling BJP. The rally, postponed once on October 7, was supposed to be held at Shirdi, though no date was finalised. An RPI functionary said the rally was postponed after some senior BJP leaders spoke over the phone with Ramdas Athavle, Union Mos for Social Justice and Empowerment, but refused to elaborate further. When contacted, Athavale said: "The Shirdi rally was planned for solidarity between the communities (Marathas and Dalits).
We have decided to postpone it for some period due to some other works. We will discuss with party workers and then announce the date later," Athavle told PTI. Athavle's RPI(A) is part of NDA dispensation and is an ally of the BJP in Centre and Maharashtra. Though "solidarity" rallies were planned with an objective to send message that dalits are not against Marathas, dalit leaders like Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of B R Ambedkar, are reportedly against holding such programmes. Marathas, numerically and politically strong community in Maharashtra, have been organising massive rallies or 'muk morchas' (silent marches) demanding reservation for them in government jobs and education and for amending SC and ST Prevention of Atrocity Act which they claim is being misused against Marathas.
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