HomePoliticsUddhav Thackeray’s Sena faction and Prakash Ambedkar’s VBA seal poll pact, ending...

    Uddhav Thackeray’s Sena faction and Prakash Ambedkar’s VBA seal poll pact, ending months of speculation

    VBA chief Prakash Ambedkar hopes Congress, NCP will soon join the poll pact

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    Mumbai: In what is being touted as the new political alignment in Maharashtra, the Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray led Shiv Sena faction (UBTS) and Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) on Monday formally announced their pre-poll alliance ahead of the civic polls in the state, ending months of intense speculation. 

    However, the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress, the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) allies of Uddhav Thackeray’s UBTS were not so keen on allying with Prakash Ambedkar. The NCP and the Congress are yet to ratify UBTS, taking the VBA into the MVA fold.  

    Both the leaders invoked the bonds between their respective grandfathers – Prabhodankar Thackeray and Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar arguing that the new ‘Shivshakti-Bhimshakti’ had been forged in a bid to “keep democracy alive.” The two leaders however remained unclear on the precise arrangement and the nature of their alliance – whether it would be limited to the BMC poll or whether the two parties would also contest future elections together. 

    Speaking to newspersons at Ambedkar Bhavan in Mumbai’s Dadar, Uddhav Thackeray, slammed the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Centre and State. He remarked, “Ambedkar and Thackeray have a historical significance. Both our grandfathers fought the social evils of their times. So, we, the legatees have come together to root out today’s political evils with the idea of Country First.” 

    Prakash Ambedkar said that the union between the two parties had been affected to bring about change in the politics of Maharashtra. 

    It may be recalled that the VBA had allied with the Asaduddin Owaisi led AIMIM during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and had played havoc by eating into the traditional Dalit-minority vote banks of the Congress and the NCP, causing damage to both parties in a number of seats. According to political observers this has been the prime reason for the wariness on part of the Congress and NCP to induct the VBA into the MVA coalition. 

    Prakash Ambedkar argued that his fight with NCP chief Sharad Pawar was “not in the fields,” but on issues of leadership. He further argued, “Currently, only the two of us (Sena-UBT and VBA) have come together…I expect the NCP and the Congress will join us too. We should let bygones be bygones, chart out a new road and work together to prevent the shadow of dictatorship looming over the country.” 

    When asked whether the Sena (UBT’s) alliance with Prakash Ambedkar would cause any split in the MVA ranks, Uddhav Thackeray remarked that the time had come to think beyond party interests and save the country which was hurtling towards a dictatorship while censuring the ‘negative politics of the RSS and the BJP.  

    The UBTS chief further added, “Three years ago, it was being said that the Shiv Sena can never go with Congress and NCP. But after the BJP, our supposed friends, deceived us, we decided to ally with our one-time nemeses – the Congress and the NCP and successfully ran the MVA government. Remember, that until recently, we (Sena-UBT) had openly fought elections against the Congress and the NCP.” Uddhav Thackeray expressed hope that the VBA would be regarded as an MVA constituent in the near future. 

    Both leaders did not elaborate on the seat-sharing arrangements between the Sena (UBT) and the VBA, remarking that they would decide it once the election dates were announced. “We will decide on the nature of our political journey in the future,” added Uddhav Thackeray. 

    Lashing out at the BJP’s double-standards on ‘Hindutva’, Uddhav Thackeray said the BJP acted as if only their version of ‘Hindutva’ was the correct version, despite conveniently making political compromises whenever it suited them. 

    “When (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh – RSS chief) Mohan Bhagwat walks into a mosque, does it mean he has lost his ‘Hindutva’? What about the time when the BJP allied with the PDP in Kashmir? They have no business telling us (Sena – UBT) of having supposedly forsaken our Hindutva because we have allied with ideologically opposed parties,” Uddhav Thackeray said, remarking that the BJP, while acting as custodians of the Constitution, were flagrantly violating it.  


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