Ramdas Athawale's party is a constituent in the BJP-led NDA (File)
Union minister Ramdas Athawale on Tuesday demanded two seats for his Republican Party of India (A) to contest in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. Mr Athawale, whose party is a constituent in the BJP-led NDA, also said he wants to contest the Lok Sabha polls from the Shirdi seat in Maharashtra.
In an interview to PTI-Bhasha, the RPI(A) leader said he would talk to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard, if required.
Mr Athawale also said any controversy on the issue of Maratha reservation is not right and his party believes that a quota can be given to the community in Maharashtra by creating a separate category on the lines of Tamil Nadu.
"My party is of the opinion that the poor people in the Maratha community should get justice but while doing so, the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) should not be harmed," he said.
Maharashtra minister Chhagan Bhujbal has also said the Maratha community should get reservation but it should not be given by cutting the share of the OBCs, he recalled.
"If reservation is to be given to the Maratha community in Maharashtra, then it can be done by creating a category, as has been created in Tamil Nadu. The poor people in the Maratha community should get justice, but the OBCs should not suffer either," he said.
Asked about Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis' comment that the BJP would contest the Lok Sabha polls from 26 of the 48 seats in Maharashtra and later retracted his statement saying that the issue would be decided after holding talks with the alliance partners, Mr Athawale asserted that there is no tension in the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena-NCP coalition in Maharashtra.
He said the relations between Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his deputies, Mr Fadnavis and Mr Pawar, are "very good".
Mr Athawale said as far as the RPI(A) is concerned, it has been with the BJP since the 2012 Brihanmumbai Municipal election and his party should get two seats in the Lok Sabha polls.
"I had contested the 2009 Lok Sabha election from Shirdi, but was defeated. I wish to contest the next Lok Sabha polls from Shirdi," he said.
Mr Athawale said he has spoken to BJP president JP Nadda about this and will also talk to Home Minister Amit Shah.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)