Dalit-Muslim union creates a flutter in Maharashtra

By Quaid Najmi

March 28, 2019
Mumbai: When Prakash Ambedkar filed his nomination papers from the Solapur and Akola Lok Sabha constituencies as a Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) nominee this week, more than 200,000 supporters followed him in each town, sending shivers down the political parties, especially the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena and the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party alliances.

Prakash Ambedkar is the grandson of Babasaheb Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian constitution, and the VBA is the political baby of his Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM) and the Owaisi brothers’ All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM).

This formidable Dalit-Muslim brotherhood, virtually untested in state politics, though tried out marginally in Uttar Pradesh between the Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party (SP), poses an unprecedented challenge in Maharashtra this time.

Turning the screws on both the opposing alliances by targeting their support among Dalits and Muslims, the unprecedented VBA experiment could probably change the attitude of the major mainstream parties vis-a-vis the two sections.

Until now, the major Dalit and Muslim groups/parties had to be content to be in alliance with the other major groupings, but not anymore as the VBA offers a clear-cut option to both sections, inclusive of others like tribals, Dhangars, Kolis and several fringe or deprived sections.

The huge turnout in Solapur and Akola has started giving nightmares to the BJP-Sena and Congress-NCP on what it could spell in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) vote-catch.

The show of strength comes barely a month after Ambedkar and Owaisi addressed a mammoth public rally in Mumbai and earlier in Aurangabad, which had sent alarm bells clanging in political circles.

Ambedkar, 64, a three-time parliamentarian, including one term in the Rajya Sabha, has also decided to field VBA candidates in 47 Lok Sabha constituencies, leaving Aurangabad for the AIMIM, which has nominated its high-profile legislator Imtiyaz Jaleel, a TV journalist-turned politician.

In Solapur, Ambedkar will lock horns with Congress strongman Sushilkumar Shinde, a former Union Home Minister and state Chief Minister, while the BJP has nominated well-known spiritual leader Jaysiddheshwar Shivacharya Swami.

In Akola, won by Ambedkar twice in 1998 and 1999, the challenge will be against three-time BJP MP Sanjay S. Dhotre and Congress’ Hidayatullah B. Patel, who finished second in the 2009 and 2014 general elections.

Interestingly, earlier this week, Shinde – who has won from Solapur thrice in 1998, 1999 and 2009 – created a political stir by claiming he and his legislator daughter Praniti were lured by the BJP. The BJP retorted that Shinde was making such claims as he sensed defeat in Solapur.

Though the Congress-NCP has dismissed the VBA as the BJP’s “Team B”, Ambedkar hit back, saying his main fight is with the BJP-Sena combine as the Congress-NCP is a weakened force in the state.

His grouse stems from the fact that the Congress-NCP unceremoniously spurned his offer for a Grand Alliance which included the VBA. The Congress-NCP found his demand for contesting nearly half the 48 seats in Maharashtra too pricey.

In the minority-dominated Aurangabad constituency, Jaleel will challenge the might of Shiv Sena stalwart Chandrakant Khaire and Congress’ Subhash Zhambad, amidst speculation that the party may drop Zhambad and opt for rebel MLA Abdul Sattar A. Nabi.

With the BSP-SP alliance also fielding Dalit and Muslim candidates in Maharashtra, political pundits forecast a tough time for the BJP-Sena and Congress-NCP alliances in the Lok Sabha polls.

However, the BSP elephant has barely impressed Maharashtra voters in the past few Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, though the SP has cycled its way through in Mumbai and surroundings with a legislator and some municipal corporators.

AAP demands Chandigarh civic body repoll postponement

Chandigarh: Just hours ahead of the re-polling for the posts of Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor of the Municipal Corporation Chandigarh, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Tuesday asked...

Veteran Gujarat Congress leader Naran Rathwa and son join BJP

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat Congress suffered a setback on Tuesday as its senior leader Naran Rathwa and his son Sangram Rathwa, joined the BJP along with a group of supporters. The...

Rahul’s Cambridge visit for lectures in poll season raises many eyebrows

New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has taken a five-day pause from the ongoing Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, from February 26 to March 1, and is headed to the United...

Congress has lost majority in House: HP LoP

Shimla: The Congress government in Himachal Pradesh has lost the majority in the House, the Leader of Opposition (LoP) Jai Ram Thakur said on Tuesday amidst reports of cross-voting in...

CM Yogi casts first vote in RS polls, SP MLA votes for BJP

Lucknow: Voting began for the ten Rajya Sabha seats in the Vidhan Bhawan with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath casting the first vote. The chief minister displayed the victory sign after...

SP chief whip in UP quits party post, slated to join rebels

Lucknow: Yet another Samajwadi Party MLA has joined the rebel group. Manoj Pandey, the MLA from Rae Bareli, on Tuesday morning resigned from the post of chief whip of the...

End injustice done to India’s youth by implementation of Agnipath scheme: Kharge writes to President Murmu

New Delhi: Congress President and Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge on Monday wrote to President Droupadi Murmu highlighting the alleged "injustice" done to India's youth due...

Raja Bhaiya announces support to BJP in RS polls

Lucknow: Former minister and president of Jansatta Dal, Raghuraj Pratap Singh a.k.a. Raja Bhaiya has finally announced support to the BJP in the Rajya Sabha biennial elections, polling for which...

Cong MP from Jharkhand’s Singhbhum seat, Geeta Koda joins BJP

New Delhi: In yet another setback to the Congress which has been reeling under a series of defections by its MPs and MLAs ahead of the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls,...

J&K: Sajad Lone to contest from Baramulla LS seat

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Conference (JKPC) has nominated Party President Sajad Lone as its candidate for the Baramulla parliamentary seat. Party General Secretary Imran Raza Ansari said that after...

‘Intimidating officials’: AP govt urges SC to cancel Chandrababu Naidu’s bail

New Delhi: Saying that TDP supremo Chandrababu Naidu and his family members are intimidating public officials probing the alleged Skill Development Corporation scam case, the Andhra Pradesh government on Monday...

Tripura tribal party to blockade state’s lifeline on Feb 28 over ‘Greater Tipraland’ demand

Agartala: Tripura's main opposition party, the Tipra Motha Party (TMP), will block the National Highway 8, the state's lifeline, on February 28 in protest against the Central government's "procrastination" in...

Read Previous

Bangladeshi woman has twins 26 days after 1st delivery

Read Next

UAE-based firm to open malls in Bengaluru, Chennai

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com