2019 Lok Sabha elections: Prakash Ambedkar signals end of alliance talks with Congress-NCP

Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar put an end to the possibility of joining the Opposition coalition on Tuesday, saying that his front, Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA), will contest all 48 seats in the state in the Lok Sabha elections.
Prakash Ambedkar(Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)
Prakash Ambedkar(Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)
Published on Mar 13, 2019 12:30 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar put an end to the possibility of joining the Opposition coalition on Tuesday, saying that his front, Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA), will contest all 48 seats in the state in the Lok Sabha elections.

This comes a day after Ambedkar announced he would contest from Solapur constituency, against former Congress CM Sushilkumar Shinde.

Ambedkar, who has already declared 22 candidates, blamed the Congress for the breakdown in talks. “The Congress insisted on the alliance, so we were talking to them. We told them we have declared 22 candidates and they will not be withdrawn from the race. If the Congress wants an alliance, we will allow these candidates to contest from the Congress on their symbol. However, they refused, saying they want to field people from their party,” said Ambedkar, adding, “We have now decided to announce the candidates for the remaining 26 seats on March 15.”

This may spell bad news for the Congress-NCP alliance. The VBA is targeting Dalit and Muslim votes. It may split the votes , indirectly benefiting the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena alliance. The Congress-NCP wanted Ambedkar in their camp, as the latter is the grandson of Dr BR Ambedkar, the architect of the Constitution, held in high regard by the Dalits. In the past two years, Ambedkar has raised his stock among Dalits, following his agitation over the Bhima-Koregaon violence issue.

The Congress, however, termed Ambedkar’s stance unfortunate. “Ambedkar has been changing his stance in every meeting. First, he demanded 12 seats and then he again increased his tally to 22,” said Congress leader Manikrao Thakre.

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