‘Ambedkar should resign from VBA chief post’: Laxman Mane
Accusing Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi chief Prakash Ambedkar of helping the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), eminent Marathi littérateur and VBA leader Laxman Mane on Thursday demanded his resignation from the post. Mane also claimed he has split the VBA and formed his own faction of the party.
Mane, who is one of the reputable Dalit literary figures, accused Ambedkar of giving importance to people who were affiliated with Hindutva and handing over the VBA to them.
“We have given important posts to people like Gopichand Padalkar, who was once a close associate of Sambhaji Bhide (alleged to have instigated the Bhima-Koregaon violence) and is running the Hindutva agenda in our outfit,” said Mane, who was once a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) legislator and joined Ambedkar when VBA was formed.
“How can such people be part of the Ambedkarite moment, which is against the Hindutva ideology,” he asked.
Ambedkar brushed aside the question saying: “This is a non-issue for me.”
Mane said that even the fresh proposal submitted by VBA to the Congress offering 40 seats was a deliberate attempt to not forge an alliance with secular forces and help the BJP-Sena alliance again.
“Ambedkar did not learn his lessons from the Lok Sabha polls, where we split secular votes and helped the BJP-Sena alliance. He is once again playing into the hands of communal forces and cheating the Dalits and other forces who reposed faith in him to defeat the BJP-Sena, who are a threat to the Constitution of India,” said Mane.
In the recent Lok Sabha polls, the VBA, in alliance with the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), was able to poll 41.08 lakh votes in the state, 7.63 % of the total votes polled.
Congress-NCP candidates, including former CMs Sushilkumar Shinde and Ashok Chavan, lost in more than six constituencies, as VBA candidates took a big chunk of opposition votes.
Meanwhile, Swabhimaani Shetkari Sanghatana chief Raju Shetti met Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray at his residence to work out an alliance between the two parties. This is the second time Shetti, a popular farmers’ leader, met Thackeray after the Lok Sabha polls.
Both Thackeray and Shetti who backed PM Narendra Modi in 2014 are now bitter critics of the NDA government. There are indications that they may join hands for the ensuing Assembly polls.
Shetti who contested the Lok Sabha polls from Hatkanangale constituency was defeated by a newcomer Shiv Sena candidate Dhaiyasheel Mane by approximately 96,039 votes.
He lost thanks to a VBA candidate, Aslam Sayyad, who polled 1,16,115 votes.