On 14 November, Union Minister and Republican Party of India chief Ramdas Athawale announced his party's plans to contest the upcoming Uttar Pradesh election, adding that Bollywood actress Rakhi Sawant could be a prospective candidate for his party, pitting her against BSP supremo Mayawati.
"Mayawati has been shying away from fighting the polls herself. We would like to see if she is going to change that this time. If she does, we will field Rakhi Sawant, who is our women's wing president, from the very seat the BSP chief chooses for herself," Athawale was quoted to have said in a PTI report.
"The Republican Party of India will go ahead and field its candidates in more than 200 out of 403 assembly segments of the state. We think it is necessary since Dalits of Uttar Pradesh have been feeling shortchanged by the BSP," Athawale further added, while claiming that his party is an integral part of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance.