Prakash Ambedkar breaks away from MVA, fields 8 candidates | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Prakash Ambedkar breaks away from MVA, fields 8 candidates

Mar 28, 2024 08:10 AM IST

Speaking to media persons in Akola, Ambedkar accused the MVA allies - Shiv Sena (UBT), Congress, and NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar) - of attempting to exploit his party to further dynastic politics, a practice that his party is actively opposing

NAGPUR: In a major blow to the opposition unity within the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA), the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) chief Prakash Ambedkar on Wednesday announced the candidacy of eight individuals for Lok Sabha in the state. This move indicates that VBA is no longer pursuing an alliance with the MVA.

Nagpur, Mar 01 (ANI): Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) President Prakash Ambedkar addresses a press conference, in Nagpur on Friday. (ANI Photo) (Snehal Sontakke)
Nagpur, Mar 01 (ANI): Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) President Prakash Ambedkar addresses a press conference, in Nagpur on Friday. (ANI Photo) (Snehal Sontakke)

Speaking to media persons in Akola, Ambedkar accused the MVA allies - Shiv Sena (UBT), Congress, and NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar) - of attempting to exploit his party to further dynastic politics, a practice that his party is actively opposing.

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The VBA has nominated Sanjay Kewat for Bhandara-Gondia, Hitesh Madavi for Gadchiroli, Rajesh Bele for Chandrapur, Vasant Magar for Buldhana and Ambedkar himself for Akola. Additionally, Prakajkta Pillewan, a dalit woman activist, will be the Lok Sabha candidate from Amravati. Rajendra Salunkhe will represent the party in Wardha, while Subhash Pawar will contest from Yavatmal-Washim, he informed.

Ambedkar’s decision follows unsuccessful negotiations between the MVA and his party regarding seat-sharing arrangements in Maharashtra, which has 48 Lok Sabha constituencies, the second-highest after Uttar Pradesh (80). Despite extensive discussions over the past few months, the MVA and VBA could not reach a consensus on contesting the elections together. The MVA initially offered four Lok Sabha seats to the VBA, which was declined. Subsequently, an additional seat was proposed, but the Ambedkar-led outfit did not accept it.

The VBA chief highlighted the support of Manoj Jarange-Patil, the Maratha activist advocating reservation for the community, who had endorsed VBA candidates in the initial phase. “I met Jarange-Patil and we had fruitful discussions. Together, we have resolved to embrace all communities and marginalised sections. We will field OBC and Jain candidates as well. Jarange-Patil and I are joining forces as a social alliance to catalyse a new era of political change,” Ambedkar stated after his meeting with the activist in Antarwali Sarathi village, in the early hours of Wednesday.

Later in the day however, Jarange-Patil said, “I will seek the Maratha community’s opinion by March 30 after which I will decide the next course of action. We are also assessing the possibility of fielding one Maratha community candidate in each constituency.”

Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat expressed concerns that the VBA’s decision could indirectly benefit the BJP and appealed to Ambedkar to reconsider.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the VBA, in conjunction with another regional party, garnered a vote share of 6.92% in the state. The VBA candidates were believed to have impacted the prospects of Congress-NCP candidates in at least eight constituencies, including Solapur, where Congress veteran Sushil Kumar Shinde lost to Jaisidhesvar Swami of the BJP.

The VBA managed to secure a significant number of votes, ranging from 1.5 to 2 lakh in these constituencies. In Solapur, Ambedkar received 1,70,007 votes, representing 15.68% of the total votes cast. This division in votes ultimately favoured the alliance between the BJP and Shiv Sena, resulting in their victory in 41 out of 48 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

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