Ambedkar’s VBA scores a point despite poll failures
Senior Congress leaders and former chief ministers of the state — Ashok Chavan and Sushil Kumar Shinde — were defeated in their respective constituencies of Nanded and Solapur with the approximate number of votes that went to the VBA.Updated: May 25, 2019 14:32 IST
The Dalit-Muslim unity experiment by Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) led by Prakash Ambedkar could not gain much of an electoral success; however, it has certainly managed to make a huge dent in the votes polled by the Indian National Congress (INC) in the state.
Senior Congress leaders and former chief ministers of the state — Ashok Chavan and Sushil Kumar Shinde — were defeated in their respective constituencies of Nanded and Solapur with the approximate number of votes that went to the VBA.
A similar case was evident at Madha where Sanjaymama Vitthalrao Shinde from Nationalist Congress Party lost to Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Ranjitsinh Naik-Nimbalkar and three-time member of Parliament (MP) from Hatkanangle constituency and farmer leader Raju Shetti was defeated by Shiv Sena nominee Dhairyasheel Mane.
In both the constituencies, the VBA managed to garner enough votes to help the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidates to turn the 2019 elections verdict in their favour.
Shinde, who was defeated by BJP’s Siddheshwar Shivacharya, said, “Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi certainly had an impact on the outcome of the Solapur result as there was a split in votes. He (Prakash Ambedkar) needs to introspect as to what he exactly gained by contesting the polls.”
Chavan, who had been taunting Ambedkar as “BJP’s B team”, said, “In an election that was critical for democracy and the Constitution, the VBA has damaged secular forces and supported casteist parties. That was the reason for the defeat of Congress-NCP candidates in several seats.”
Chavan, a sitting member of Parliament (MP), lost by 42,299 votes to Bharatiya Janata Party’s Pratap Patil Chikhalikar. Yashpal Bhinge of the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi polled 1,61,910 votes in Nanded.
Farmers’ leader Raju Shetti, who lost the Hatkanangle seat in Kolhapur district, said nearly 10 seats in the state contested by opposition leaders had to bite the dust owing to the VBA.
“On several occasions before the polling schedule, I had met him (Ambedkar) with a request to come in the non-NDA alliance. However, he refused and the consequences are now evident,” said Shetti.
First Published: May 25, 2019 12:22 IST