HomePoliticsPrakash Ambedkar's VBA severs poll ties with Owaisi's AIMIM, instead seals poll...

Prakash Ambedkar’s VBA severs poll ties with Owaisi’s AIMIM, instead seals poll pact with RJD and Muslim League for BMC polls

VBA chief says doors open for alliance with both Sena and Congress. 


Pune: After having an electoral alliance in September 2018 ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) chief Prakash Ambedkar on Monday announced the break-up of his alliance with Asaduddin Owaisi-led All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM). Instead, the VBA leader announced an alliance with the Bihar-based Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) for the crucial the 2022 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) election to be held in February next year.  

The VBA leader lashed out at the AIMIM for not contesting on a secular plank in the 2019 Lok Sabha election. Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, projected his alliance as an alternative to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition (of Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress) in the BMC. 

However, in an indication of leaving the door ajar the VBA chief further said that the doors were open for an alliance with both the Congress and the Shiv Sena if the latter parties so wished. 

“We held discussions with the leaders of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and the RJD and it was decided that the three parties should come together. Discussions are also underway with some other like-minded organisations that wish to join this front. The seat-sharing will be decided by mid-January,” remarked Ambedkar.

He further added that it was ultimately up to the voter to decide whether this ‘third alternative’ would work in the much-anticipated civic polls scheduled early next year.  

Both Ambedkar’s VBA, neither its one-time ally the AIMIM have any significant presence in Mumbai. In the present 227-seat BMC being dominated by the Sena (97 seats) and the BJP (82 seats). 

“Although the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) voted in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Aurangabad on a secular plank, the AIMIM there did not fight from a secular stand…as things stand, the OBCs within our party are not keen for an alliance with the AIMIM,” added Ambedkar while arguing why his VBA could not ally with Owaisi’s AIMIM party. 

The VBA’s alliance with the AIMIM had queered the pitch for the opposition Congress and the NCP in at least 10 of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections by splitting the traditional Dalit-minority vote-bank of the Congress and NCP. 

However, the VBA-AIMIM alliance broke soon after the general election following disagreement over seat-sharing ahead of the Maharashtra Assembly election that followed in October 2019. 

After breaking-off its alliance with the AIMIM, the VBA has become disoriented, having lost the initiative that Prakash Ambedkar had seized following the 2018 Bhima-Koregaon clashes, which led to a significant proportion of the Ambedkarite community shifting towards the VBA. 

Asserting that ensuing 2022 BMC polls would be fought on the development plank, Prakash Ambedkar added that the plight of the employees of the cash-strapped Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) and the long, drawn-out strike by desperate transport workers would be a critical factor in determining the outcome of the election. “The ruling MVA government has failed to take any concrete policy decisions with regards to the strike by hard up MSRTC workers,” he said.  

The VBA leader lamented the fact that the Congress failed to make an alliance with the VBA in the 2019 general election and kept on dubbing the VBA as ‘the B-team of the BJP’ despite the latter’s earnest efforts to seek an alliance with the Congress. 


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