Lok Sabha elections 2019| Ambedkar’s only aim is to defeat Congress, NCP: Bhalchandra Mungekar
The Congress on Friday accused Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar of planning to defeat their candidates in the state to help the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). It also slammed Union minister Ramdas Athawale for his alliance with the BJP.
“Ambedkar has fielded candidates from all 48 Lok Sabha seats and except him, no one can get elected. Their only aim is to ensure the defeat of the Congress-NCP or a split in their votes. We have seen Ramdas Athawale begging for a Rajya Sabha seat and ministership,” alleged Congress’ Rajya Sabha MP and former Mumbai University vice-chancellor Bhalchandra Mungekar. “Both of them should realise there is a huge section of Dalits who are angry with the BJP and will vote for the Congress-NCP combine, as they see it as an alternative to communal forces.”
The Congress tried to stitch up an alliance with Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) and both the parties held multiple rounds of talks. Ambedkar initially demanded 12 seats, but the Congress-NCP was willing to give six. In addition, Ambedkar’s partnership with the AIMIM was also opposed by the Congress as they described it as a communal outfit. The Congress asked Ambedkar to snap ties with the AIMIM, which Ambedkar refused. Ambedkar then scaled the demand to 22, after which the Congress-NCP alleged he was not serious about joining the Opposition’s coalition. Ambedkar, on his part, said he had waited long enough, but there was no initiative from the Congress. “Ambedkar’s behaviour was suspicious,” said Mungekar.
In case of Athawale, the BJP did not even consider him while talking to the Sena about the alliance and his claim to the Mumbai South Central seat was swept aside. JV Pawar, a close aide of Prakash Ambedkar, refuted the allegations: “We have given an excellent alternative to both the Congress-NCP and the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance and Dalits along with other sections of the people will vote overwhelmingly for us. The current fight is the BJP-Sena versus the VBA.”