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Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019

Maha polls: VBA fails to create a buzz

cities Updated: Oct 24, 2019 00:27 IST
Naresh Kamath
Naresh Kamath
Hindustantimes
         

The Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) has failed to create the kind of buzz it had in the Lok Sabha (LS) elections held earlier this year. Reason: Ambedkar failed to forge an alliance with the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) for the Assembly elections, like he had during the LS polls; several leaders deserted the front; and above all, the allegations that the VBA has been helping the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) split opposition votes affected the front.

Former VBA leader Laxman Mane, who left the party, alleged that supporters of the front felt cheated. “In the LS elections, VBA had emerged as a hope to lakhs of the people who hated the BJP and were angry with the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) combine. However, all they saw was that Ambedkar was only driving the BJP agenda to vanquish the Congress-NCP combine. This was not what we wanted,” said Mane.

Ambedkar’s refusal to forge an alliance with the Congress-NCP combine also did not go down well with a section of supporters, especially after the thumping victory of the saffron combine in the LS polls. The VBA contested 243 out of 288 seats in the Assembly elections. In the LS polls, VBA, along with its ally AIMIM, had polled 41.08 lakh votes, accounting for 7.63 % of the total votes polled in the state. The front was able to ensure the defeat of the Congress-NCP alliance in a couple of constituencies and its notable victims were former Congress chief ministers Ashok Chavan and Sushilkumar Shinde. Hence, both referred to the VBA as the “B team of the BJP-Sena alliance” as it ensured the latter’s win in various seats. Ambedkar, however, insisted that there was more enthusiasm among his supporters this time, than during the general elections. “We are confident of winning power in the state. Unlike both the combines, we have given candidature to the common people and not to dynastic families which have been running their fiefdom. We have the people behind us. The results will aptly show the same to all.”