Prakash Ambed­kar Plays Spoiler for Oppn

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - Kr­ishna.Kumar@ times­group.com

Mum­bai: A‘grand op­po­si­tion al­liance’ to take on the Shiv Sena and the BJP has hit a hur­dle with Prakash Ambed­kar of the Bharipa Bahu­jan Ma­hasangh (BBM) an­nounc­ing a tie-up for fu­ture polls with the Ma­jlis-e-It­te­hadul Mus­limeen (MIM) in the state.

The tie-up raises many ques­tions for the prospect of the Grand Al­liance as the Congress and Na­tion­al­ist Congress Party (NCP) had spo­ken about the need to get Ambed­kar, who has a strong hold on the sched­uled castes, to take on the BJP and se­condly, the Congress in­di­cat­ing that it is averse to a tie-up with MIM for the polls as it is not a ‘sec­u­lar party’. Prakash Ambed­kar on Sun­day was, how­ever, com­bat­ive say­ing that the party went ahead with its own al­liance as they were tired of the Congress ‘games’. “They did not ini­ti­ate talks with us till now, they were play­ing their own game, they were in a wait-and-watch mode on the is­sue of al­liances, so we went ahead and did our own tie-up,” Ambed­kar told ET.

He, in­ter­est­ingly, in­di­cated that he was still in­ter­ested in a tie-up with the Congress-NCP but said that the two par­ties should give it at least 12 Lok Sabha seats, out of the 48, for con­test­ing. Opin­ion in the Congress camp was sharply divided, while one se­nior leader said that the move was meant to be seen as a pres­sure tac­tic for the Congress-NCP com­bine to agree to an al­liance on Ambed­kar’s terms, an­other se­nior leader ac­cussed Ambed­kar and MIM of be­ing the B team of the BJP. “This has come as a shocker for us, if they in­tend to go on an al­liance with MIM then it ob­vi­ously will di­vide the Dal­its, sec­u­lar vo- te bank and that would help the BJP,” said a se­nior Congress leader. Ambed­kar shot back say­ing that he could also ac­cuse the Congress of be­ing the ‘B’ team of the NCP.

Ma­ha­rash­tra Congress chief Ashok Cha­van, how­ever, ex­pressed hope that Ambed­kar can still be per­suaded to join their al­liance. “We are still try­ing to talk to him, our op­po­si­tion leader (Radha Kr­ishna Vikhe Patil) is in touch with him. We never ex­pected this al­liance (BBM+MIM). We will ini­ti­ate talks with him on the is­sue and try to un­der­stand his po­lit­i­cal views,” said Cha­van to ET.

Cha­van, how­ever, clar­i­fied that the party was still firm that there would be no space for a tie-up with MIM.

The Congress-NCP was try­ing to stitch a grand al­liance in or­der to take on a po­ten­tial BJP-Sena tie-up in the state.

PRAKASH AMBED­KAR Leader, Bharipa Bahu­jan Ma­hasanghThey (Congress) did not ini­ti­ate talks with us till now, they were play­ing their own game, they were in a wait-and-watch mode on the is­sue of al­liances, so we went ahead and did our own tie-up

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