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‘Maha Assembly Polls is Between VBA & Sena-BJP’: Prakash Ambedkar

“We are the main opposition party in Maharashtra and we’re aiming to form the government,” said the VBA chief.

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Politics
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Camera: Gautam Sharma
Video Editor: Ashish MacCune

After making an impact in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Prakash Ambedkar led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi is hoping to replicate its success in the Maharashtra Assembly polls. Discussing his party’s strategy in the upcoming polls, Ambedkar told The Quint that the VBA has closed its doors to forming an alliance with the Congress.

“This election is between the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi and Shiv Sena-BJP combined. We don’t see Congress anywhere.” 
Prakash Ambedkar, President, Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi 

“We are the main opposition party in Maharashtra and we are aiming to form the government. We have a pan Maharashtra presence as we fought the parliamentary elections. It was EVM that defeated us, not the BJP. We are an emerging party, not a diminishing party like Congress and NCP. So, yes, we have a strength of 288, so we said we will contest 288,” he added.

‘We Made 7 Percent Inroads Into BJP Votes’

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the VBA garnered about 41 lakh votes. Constituencies like Buldhana, Solapur, Nanded, Gadchiroli-Chimur, Parbhani, Hatakanangle and Sangli saw a clear split in votes between the Congress-NCP alliance and VBA.

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Apart from this, Ambedkar claimed that the party also made 7 percent inroads into BJP votes.

“We did not eat up into Congress’s vote share. Congress votes were Muslim votes and had that been in our favour, I think the results would have been different and this time the results will be different. We made a dent into the BJP votes,” he said.

“This time we intend to sweep around 40 percent of votes because 30 percent is basically is what we call Vanchit. They have not been represented, neither have they been recognised, nor honoured. This is a class where for the first time nearly 30 to 40 per cent of our seats have gone to this class.”
Prakash Ambedkar, President, Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi

‘2019 Agenda Is A Copycat Of 2014’

Claiming that no new policies have been implemented in the last 5 years in Maharashtra, the VBA chief focused on solutions to Maharashtra’s irrigation policies.

“If you look at the agenda of 2014 and 2009, it’s a copycat. There is nothing new. What we are now projecting is, on a fundamental issue, should water be used for the generation of electricity or water should be used for drinking and agriculture? We have raised the issue of Tata dams and the additional water that is available in the Ukai Dam in Jalgaon district. Why not use this water to feed the drought prone areas?” asked Prakash Ambedkar.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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