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Didn’t take Pawar’s support in 1998-99, says BBM leader Prakash Ambedkar

The war of words between Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM) leader Prakash Ambedkar and National Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar continued on Monday

mumbai Updated: Sep 25, 2018 05:30 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh Prakash Ambedkar addressing to media during press conference in Mumbai.
Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh Prakash Ambedkar addressing to media during press conference in Mumbai.(HT File Photo)
         

The war of words between Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM) leader Prakash Ambedkar and National Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar continued on Monday, with Ambedkar saying his Lok Sabha victories in 1998 and 1999 had nothing to do with Pawar’s help.

Addressing the media, Ambedkar said Pawar was lying about offering political support for the Akola constituency 20 years ago. “I had sealed the deal with the then Congress president Sitaram Kesri and Pawar was nowhere in the picture,” Ambedkar said.

The tussle started last week when Ambedkar said he preferred allying with the Congress and not the “communal” NCP. He pointed out that the NCP offered support to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2014 to form a government in Maharashtra because the party could not form a majority on its own.

Pawar retorted that Ambedkar took his support during his Lok Sabha victories (in 1998 and 1999). “He found our workers secular back then,” Pawar said. Pawar also pointed out how the Congress, in those years, supported four Dalit leaders, including Athawale and Ambedkar, to get elected to Lok Sabha. But Ambedkar, according to Pawar, deliberately fielded candidates in the Mumbai – North East constituency to split NCP votes and ensure BJP’s Pramod Mahajan won.

Ambedkar, who is one of the most influential Dalit leaders in the state, said he would ally with the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM), which was seen as a setback for the Congress’s attempt to form an opposition alliance in Maharashtra. The Congress objected to this alliance saying that AIMIM was a communal party and its chief, Asaduddin Owaisi was helping the BJP’s agenda of polarising the masses.

First Published: Sep 25, 2018 05:30 IST

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