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VBA declares 8 candidates, ends suspense over ties with MVA

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Hemant Waje
Last updated on: March 28, 2024 00:51 IST
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In a setback to the opposition in Maharashtra, the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) chief Prakash Ambedkar on Wednesday announced eight Lok Sabha candidates in the state, signalling the outfit is no longer pursuing an alliance with the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA).

Addressing a press conference in Akola, Dr B R Ambedkar's grandson, who himself will contest from the seat, accused MVA allies -- Congress, Nationalist Congress Party-Sharadchandra Pawar, Shiv Sena-UBT -- of trying to use his outfit to promote dynastic politics, which he asserted, his party is trying to resist.

The VBA has fielded Sanjay Kewat from Bhandara-Gondiya, Hitesh Madavi from Gadchiroli, Rajesh Belle from Chandrapur, Vasant Magar from Buldhana, Ambedkar from Akola, Prakajkta Pillewan from Amravati, Rajendra Salunkhe from Wardha and Khemsingh Pawar from Yavatmal-Washim.


The VBA leader's announcement comes after the MVA and his party failed to reach a consensus on seat-sharing arrangement in Maharashtra, which has 48 Lok Sabha constituencies, the second highest after Uttar Pradesh (80).

The two sides had been involved in hectic parleys over the last few months to reach an agreement on fighting the polls together.

The MVA had offered four Lok Sabha seats to the VBA which the latter had declined.

The opposition bloc later offered one more seat to the Ambedkar-led outfit.

At the press meet, Ambedkar, a former MP, parried questions on an alliance with MVA partners.

Senior Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat said the VBA's move will indirectly help the BJP and urged Ambedkar to reconsider his decision.

Shiv Sena-UBT leader Sanjay Raut said the MVA parties waited for the VBA till the last moment for an alliance, and it is still waiting for him to join the bloc.

The NCP-SP said Ambedkar should join hands with anti-BJP outfits to fight 'fascism' and save the Constitution.

Ambedkar said 'those who were eager to have a pact' with his party, a reference to the MVA, failed to take into account the factor of Manoj Jarange, a quota activist who mobilised thousands for his rallies to demand reservation for the Maratha community.

Jarange has announced support to VBA candidates in the first phase, he said.

The two met in the wee hours of Wednesday at Antarwali Sarati village where Jarange resides.

When asked whether the VBA plans to contest elections with Jarange, Ambedkar said, "We will let you know at the appropriate time."

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the VBA had allied with the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), but failed to win any seat.

The alliance had hurt the poll prospects of candidates of the Congress and the undivided NCP in nearly a dozen seats.

Ambedkar said his party is nominating candidates from OBC, Muslim and Jain communities and poorer sections of society and will ensure they win.

The Congress and the Shiv Sena (UBT) have announced candidates for most of the seats for which the VBA declared its nominees on Wednesday.

Ambedkar said his party will back the Congress' Nagpur candidate.

The VBA had already announced to support Chhatrapati Shahu, a descendant of Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, who is the Congress candidate from Kolhapur.

He added that the VBA will also support Prakash Shengde of the OBC Bahujan Party in Sangli if he contests from the western Maharashtra seat.

Maharashtra will vote in five phases spread over April-May.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Hemant Waje© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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