Mumbai: Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar Wednesday made it clear that none of the 22 candidates announced by his Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) will withdraw the nomination, but said he was ready to hold talks with the Congress for other 26 Lok Sabha seats. Ambedkar said this while speaking to a news channel. “I have finalised candidates for 22 seats so far and none of them is going to withdraw the nomination. We are ready to hold talks with Congress for the rest of the 26 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra ahead of the general elections,” he said.
Ambedkar has been holding talks with Congress over the seat-sharing formula. A faction in the Congress, especially those from Marathwada and Vidarbha regions, are keen on making Ambedkar a part of the grand alliance of Congress and NCP to avoid division of anti-BJP votes. When asked about how hopeful he was about the ongoing talks, Ambedkar said, “I have been hopeful since the last some days, but it seems they do not have any clarity on how to hold talks and what issues to be discussed. If it continues like this, then the result is obvious- that I will not be part of the grand-alliance.”
The grandson of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar has forged an alliance with Hyderabad-based AIMIM, which has made the Congress and NCP uncomfortable. Both the parties heavily rely on the votes of Dalits and Muslims. But since the VBA is in the fray, it might dent Congress’ chances, but benefit the BJP or Sena. Ambedkar also rejected the allegation that he was the B team of BJP. “I know their inclination towards the Hindutva politics and I am not their (BJP’s) proxy in this election. I am contesting against them,” he said.