MUMBAI: The Republican Party of India (RPI), an ally of BJP-Shiv Sena combine, has decided to field Deepak Nikalje, brother of underworld don Chhota Rajan, from Phaltan seat in the ensuing Maharashtra assembly elections. The party is contesting six seats in the elections.
"It will be finalised by the evening. Deepak Nikalje has contested from Chembur three times. We didn't have Chembur seat which is the sitting seat of Shiv Sena but Nikalje will contest from Phaltan. It has not been decided yet but by the evening it will be finalised," said RPI chief and Union Minister Ramdas Athawale.
"His village comes under Phaltan and that is why we are thinking of fielding Nikalje from there," he said.
Athawale said that he has submitted a memorandum to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in which he has asked the BJP to give a Cabinet berth to the RPI at the Centre, one Rajya Sabha seat from Maharashtra next year, two MLCs, chairman post of three 'Mahamandals' and one representative of the RPI in each corporation among others.
The RPI has been given six seats as part of the seat-sharing deal among BJP, Shiv Sena and other smaller allies.
"We have got six seats but we should have got 1-2 more seats. Due to the tussle between BJP and Shiv Sena over seat-sharing, we have not got those seats," said Athawale.
Five other seats that have been given to the RPI are Malshiras in Solapur district, Bhandara, Naigaon in Nanded district, Pathri in Parbhani district, and Mankhurd-Shivaji Nagar in Mumbai.
Maharashtra Assembly elections are slated to be held on October 21. The counting of votes will take place on October 24.