GUWAHATI, March 14 (PTI): Union minister of state for social justice and empowerment Ramdas Athawale on Tuesday said Republican Party of India (A), led by him, is looking to contest two seats in Assam in the Lok Sabha polls next year.
The leader of the Maharashtra-based political party said it is aiming to contest from Barpeta Lok Sabha seat and another constituency in Assam having a sizable Muslim population after its recent success in Nagaland assembly polls.
“We have won two seats in the recently held Nagaland Assembly elections. With this, we have opened our account in the North East. Our next plan is to contest in the Lok Sabha polls in Assam,” Athawale said at a press conference here.
The RPI (A) is looking to contest from Barpeta, currently represented by Congress MP Abdul Khaleque, and one more seat in Assam during the general elections for Lok Sabha in 2024, he added.
“We are aiming at Muslim priority seats. We will contest as an NDA constituent. We will speak to Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma and Union Home Minister Amit Shah on this,” Athawale said.
He also said that various central government schemes worth Rs 350 crore are being implemented in Barpeta constituency.
Criticising Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s recent remarks on Indian democracy in the UK, Athawale demanded an apology from the opposition leader.
“He went abroad and defamed India. We should praise our country when we go to a foreign country. We should highlight the economic growth and developmental works, but Rahul Gandhi went to London and said that Indian democracy is at stake.” the RPI (A) leader said.
During his recent visit to the UK, Gandhi at various interactions alleged that the structures of Indian democracy are under attack and that there is a “full-scale assault” on the institutions of the country.
Gandhi had also told British parliamentarians in London that microphones were often ‘turned off’ in the Lok Sabha when any opposition member raises important issues.
The opposition leader’s remarks triggered a political slugfest with the BJP accusing him of maligning India on foreign soil and seeking foreign intervention, and the Congress hitting back by citing instances of Prime Minister Narendra Modi raking up internal politics abroad.