Prakash Ambedkar may not align with Congress-NCP
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Prakash Ambedkar may not align with Congress-NCP

BBM firm on demand for 12 seats and written assurance on getting RSS under Constitution; Congress hopeful

mumbai Updated: Feb 11, 2019 08:14 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Lok Sabha,Lok Sabha elections
Ambedkar has already formed Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA), an alliance of small parties, including Asaduddin Owaisi-led All India AIMIM, for the Lok Sabha elections. (HT FILE)

With the Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM) chief Prakash Ambedkar firm on his conditions, the chances of him joining the Congress-NCP-led grand alliance seem slim. Besides the demand for 12 seats, Ambedkar wants a written assurance from the Congress to bring the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in the ambit of the Constitution.

Ambedkar, on Sunday, said, “RSS is a fascist organization which does not follow our Constitution. As we are fighting against it for years, we want the Congress to come up with a proposal to take action against it and make them follow the Constitution. Until then, we have decided we won’t join hands with them for the elections,” Ambedkar said.

The Congress and NCP has held at least six meetings with BBM, urging him to join the alliance in their fight against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Alliance with Ambedkar, grandson of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, has emotional value among Dalit voters. He enjoys following in parts of Vidarbha, including Akola. Ambedkar refuted the claims that his decision of not contesting with the Congress and NCP will be of advantage to the ruling BJP. “The BJP is not in a position to win the polls, as they won’t get 12% Dhangar votes in the state in the ensuing polls. Without the support of Dhangars, it is impossible for the BJP to secure the aspired number of seats in Maharashtra,” Ambedkar said.

Ambedkar has already formed Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA), an alliance of small parties, including Asaduddin Owaisi-led All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), for the Lok Sabha elections.

State Congress chief Ashok Chavan said he was still hopeful, as an alliance would prevent division of votes. “Not joining the grand alliance is like supporting the BJP and will send out a wrong message,” he said.

After announcing its decision to contest all 48 Lok Sabha seats of the state last week, BBM chief on Sunday said they will give candidature to representatives from Agri, Koli and other communities in Mumbai and Konkan region. He said the state government was trying to help builders by bringing SRA (a scheme for redevelopment of slums) in gaothans and koliwadas, against the will of these communities.

First Published: Feb 11, 2019 00:23 IST