The much-anticipated Dalit-Muslim unity experiment of the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) led by Prakash Ambedkar was the biggest game-changer in Maharashtra.
Even though the VBA only managed to win one seat in Aurangabad, the seat was won by AIMIM candidate Imtiyaz Jaleel. While not securing an alliance with the VBA, the Congress-NCP faced a tough time. The VBA managed to dent the Congress-NCP’s vote share in Maharashtra in key constituencies, including Nanded, where state Congress chief Ashok Chavan suffered a defeat.
Prakash Ambedkar told the Indian Express, “The Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi had evolved its own strategy and agenda that was centred around the oppressed and backward segments of the community. Our fight was against both the BJP-Shiv Sena and the Congress-NCP. I was from the beginning open for alliance with Congress-NCP. They have to explain why it failed.”
Earlier, Ambedkar had announced that the VBA will contest all 288 Assembly seats. In constituencies like Nanded, Solapur, Akola, Sangli VBA candidates were on the third position. According to the Election Commission website, VBA’s Yashpal Bhinge bagged 1,61,910 votes with 14.76 per cent vote share, while Ashok Chavan got 4,31,584 votes and a 39.35 per cent vote share and BJP’s Prataprao Patil Chikhalikar got 43.25 per cent vote share and 4,74,410 votes (according to trends.) In Sangli, VBA’s Gopichand Padalkar got 2,92732 votes and 25.16 per cent vote share while the BJP’s Sanjaykaka Patil bagged 42.73 vote share and 4,97,180 votes.