Chhota Rajan’s brother’s name dropped from RPI’s candidates list

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on October 04, 2019 Published on October 04, 2019

In a volte-face, the Athawale faction of the Republican Party of India (RPI-A) dropped Deepak Nikalje, the brother of underworld don Chhota Rajan, from the candidates list for the Maharashtra Assembly polls, on Friday.

He was to contest elections from the Phaltan seat in the Satara district. The seat has now been allocated to a new candidate.

The Ramdas Athwale-led RPI (A), which is a prominent Dalit ally of the BJP, had announced Nikalje’s candidature on Wednesday.

The party drew flak for fielding Nikalje, who has no direct association with Phaltan and is known as leader and a businessman from Chembur in suburban Mumbai.

Avinash Mahatekar, a spokesperson for the RPI (Athawale), told BusinessLine that Nikalje was to be fielded from the Chembur constituency but the sitting Shiv Sena MLA refused to vacate the seat.

“Nikalje’s name was suggested for the Phaltan seat. But then we found another suitable candidate Digambar Agawane, who is also a local leader and would fight as a BJP candidate,” he added.

The Dalit party has been given six seats as part of the seat-sharing pact between the BJP and Shiv Sena. It will contest from Phaltan (Satara), Malshiras (Solapur), Bhandara, Naigaon (Nanded), Pathri (Parbhani) and Mankhurd-Shivaji Nagar in Mumbai but on the lotus symbol (BJP).

Unsuccessful candiature

Nikalje had earlier unsuccessfully contested from the Chembur Assembly seat as RPI candidate in 2004, 2009 and 2014. He was given the Phaltan seat as it is his home town.

A senior BJP leader said that it would have been difficult for RPI (A) to justify Nikalje’s association with the party, and therefore, he has been dropped from the candidates list.

Published on October 04, 2019
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