Maharashtra Assembly polls: VBA and AIMIM spoilers for Congress, NCP in 25 seatsUpdated: Oct 26, 2019, 00:34 IST
The Vanchit Bahujan Aaghadi (VBA) and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeem (AIMIM) were able to damage the prospects of Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) combine in 25 constituencies across the state in the recently-concluded Assembly elections. Both parties largely receive support from the minority communities that have traditionally voted for the Congress. In the Assembly polls, the VBA and AIMIM damaged the prospect of 15 Congress candidates and 10 NCP candidates, even as they fought separately.
One such constituency is Nanded North, where Congress candidate D P Savant lost to Shiv Sena’s Balaji Kalyankar by 12,106 votes. Kalyankar secured 62,884, While Sawant received 50,778 votes and the AIMIM candidate Feroz Lala got 41,892 votes. Additionally, VBA candidate Mukund Chawre got 26,569 votes.
Meanwhile, Congress candidate lost in his stronghold, Chandivali, by 409 votes to Sena candidate Dilip Lande. Here, VBA’s Abdul Hasan Khan polled 8,876 votes and AIMIM’s Mohammed Imran Qureshi got 1,167 votes. In Chalisgaon, BJP candidate Mangesh Chavan defeated NCP’s Rajiv Deshmukh by 4,287 votes, while VBA candidate Morsing Rathod got 38,429 votes.
Similar trends were witnessed in Jintur, Pune Cantonment, Tuljapur, Nagpur Central, Chikli, Khamgaon, Akola (West), Ralegaon, Chimur, Arni, Shivaji Nagar, Nandgoan and Ulhasnagar.
Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said that VBA has been exposed as a “B Team” of the BJP. “[VBA chief] Prakash Ambedkar’s only agenda was to ensure the defeat of the secular forces. Though VBA did not get any seats, they succeeded in not allowing the secular forces to form a government in Maharashtra,” said Sawant.
In the run up to both the Lok Sabha and assembly polls, Ambedkar said he wanted to ally with the Congress but on his own terms. In the Assembly elections, he was ready to part with 40 seats of the total 288, but then upped his offer to 144 seats. However, he said that Congress needed to adjust the NCP from its 144 seats. The Congress rejected the offer as being non-serious one.
However the VBA has defended itself, saying it was not responsible for the performance of the Congress-NCP combine. “We are an independent party and we don’t care who benefits because of us. We wanted to ally with the Congress but they were just humiliating us calling a B-team of the BJP. Despite that we gave our offer but they didn’t respond. They are at fault and not us,” said Rajendra Patode, spokesperson, VBA.