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Who is Ramdas Athawale Bandu?

Ramdas Athawale Bandu

About Ramdas Athawale Bandu

Who is Ramdas Athawale Bandu?

Known for his unique sense of humour and unorthodox style of giving media bytes, Ramdas Athawale Bandu is quite a popular figure in Indian politics. Born in 1959, Athawale is President of the Republican Party of India (Athawale), which has a limited presence in Maharashtra and is popular among a section of the state's Buddhist Dalits. In the past, the Sangli-born politician has even donned the hat of trade unionist, social activist, editor, and even that of an actor as well. He shot to massive fame when a video of him chanting "Go Corona. Corona Go..." went viral on social media in 2020.
 
Presently, in 2024, Athawale is a Rajya Sabha MP from Maharashtra and MoS for Social Justice and Empowerment.
 
Early Life
Athawale, who did his undergrad from Maharashtra, was born in a Dalit family and is a Buddhist practitioner. He is a staunch supporter of Dr BR Ambedkar. Before getting into full-time politics, Athawale was an editor of a weekly magazine and has played roles in several Marathi films.

Political Career
Athawale's career kickstarted when he joined the Dalit Panthers' movement in the seventies. However, it was only in 1990, when the Dalit leader became a member of Maharashtra Legislative Council. In the nineties, he also became a Cabinet minister in the Maharashtra govt.
 
Athawale has sided with both Congress-led UPA and BJP-led NDA in his decades-long political career.
 
In 1998, he first became an LS MP from Mumbai North Central constituency. Then he won two back-to-back terms (1999 and 2004) from the erstwhile Pandharpur constituency in Maharashtra. During this period, he was in an alliance with the Congress-led UPA.
 
However, in 2011, he broke his alliance with the UPA and joined hands with the NDA.
 
 In 2014, he was elected to Rajya Sabha with BJP's support and then in 2016, he was made MoS for Social Justice and Empowerment. Since then, he has remained an MoS with the same portfolio. Notably, in 2020, he was re-elected to Rajya Sabha unopposed from Maharashtra.
 
Athawale is quite vocal about Dalit rights and never minces words when speaking on any Dalit atrocity incident.

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