ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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under the Prevention of Atrocities Act. This is a political challenge which the Republican leaders cannot evade. What will be the electoral strategy of the Republican Party in the forthcoming elections, even if the various factions succeed in hammering out a common programme? Athavale has announced the severance of his tics with the Congress with the reciprocal expectation from Prakash Ambedkar that he would similarly distance himself from the Janata Dal and the left forces. In that case, will the Republican leadership, which claims to control the 7 per cent Buddhist vote in the state, make a significant impact in the elections? Should the Republican leadership turn down an understanding with the so-called third front and choose to contest the elections on its own. will that not indirectly help the SS- BJP? If Athavale stays firm in his objection to an alignment with the Janata Dal-left forces, the new-found Republican unity itself may be imperilled.

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