Maharashtra elections: BJP ally fields Chhota Rajan's rape-accused brother
In what qualifies as a weird news, the brother of jailed underworld don Chhota Rajan will be fighting the upcoming Maharashtra elections. On Wednesday, the Republican Party of India (A), an ally of BJP in the state, announced that Deepak Nikalje will be contesting polls from Phaltan in Western Maharashtra. His earlier attempts of being elected from Chembur had failed. Here are more details.
In the grand alliance, RPI got six seats
RPI is a party led by Union Minister Ramdas Athawale. In the NDA alliance for 288 seats of the assembly, RPI got six seats. The party will field candidates from Phaltan in Satara, Malshiras in Solapur, Bhandara, Naigaon in Nanded; Pathri in Parbhani, and Mankhurd- Shivaji Nagar in Mumbai. Elections will be held on October 21, and results will be announced on October 24.
Congress and Shiv Sena candidates defeated Nikalje earlier
Notably, Nikalje has been associated with RPI for several years. "This time he expressed willingness to fight the election from Phaltan since he hails from that area and has a good network there," said a senior RPI leader. In his last two poll outings, Nikalje was defeated by Congress' Chandrakant Handore in 2009 and by Prakash Phaterpekar of Shiv Sena, five years ago.
Nikalje's father enjoyed a clout in the area
RPI hopes Nikalje's connections will help him this time. His father, Sadashiv, hailed from a Dalit family in Girvi village of Phaltan Taluka. There's a posh bungalow at the spot where Sadashiv's small house stood, once upon a time. The bungalow also houses a bust of Sadashiv. Every year on his birth anniversary, Nikalje and other family members pay respects to the befallen.
Last year, he was accused of rape and sexual harassment
It's important to note that Nikalje was accused of rape and sexual harassment by a 22-year-old woman in 2018. The woman, who stayed in Siddharth Colony in suburban Chembur, claimed Nikalje violated her under the pretext of marriage.
However, BJP is yet to agree on Nikalje's candidature
While reports emerged about Nikalje's candidature from Phaltan, a seat reserved for Scheduled Caste which NCP has been winning since the last four assembly polls, his aide claimed BJP is yet to give a nod. "There are very fewer chances of him getting a ticket but he has been asked by the RPI to wait and watch," his aide told ANI.