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|January 13, 1998||
Dalit poet Dhasal to contest from Pune
Noted dalit poet Namdeo Dhasal will contest the general election from Pune as a Dalit Panther candidate. He revived the party recently after breaking his ties with the United Republican Party of India.
Dhasal said his party will contest 11 other seats in the election without an alliance with any political party. He said the main fight of his party will be against the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The other nominees are: Ganesh Gaikwad (Ahmednagar), Bhika Harsingh Barde (Malegaon), Ravindra Zendhe (Karad), Kashinath Rupavate (Raigad), Ganpati Kamble (Pandarpur), Mohan Bansode (Solapur), Rajesh Sonwane (Erandol), Gyandev Hausmal (Osmanabad), Devidas Jogdand (Beed), Uttam Ahire (Bombay north east) and Pradip Rajput (Jalgaon).
Dhasal welcomed Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray's recent statement, suggesting the construction of a national monument on the disputed Ayodhya site as a solution to the long-pending problem.
The poet contested from Pune in the 1996 Lok Sabha election and lost as a RPI candidate against then Union minister of state for railways Suresh Kalmadi. He secured 56,185 votes -- 7.28 per cent of the total votes polled.
He will take on Kalmadi who recently quit the Congress to form his Pune Vikas Aghadi.
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