Home INDIA “If Prakash Ambedkar Reconciles…”: Congress Leader’s Seat Offer

“If Prakash Ambedkar Reconciles…”: Congress Leader’s Seat Offer

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"If Prakash Ambedkar Reconciles...": Congress Leader's Seat Offer



Prithviraj Chavan emphasized that the candidates for the Maharashtra seats will be announced soon.


Former Maharashtra Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan today extended an olive branch to his party’s ‘near ally’ Prakash Ambedkar amid disagreements over the seat-sharing formula for the Lok Sabha elections. Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA), led by Prakash Ambedkar, was in touch with Maha Vikas Aghadi or MVA – an alliance comprising the Congress, NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar) and the Shiv Sena (UBT) for the Lok Sabha polls, but the talks failed.

Yesterday, the Congress announced the name of a candidate from Akola, while the MVA had earlier proposed the VBA for five seats, including Akola, Ramtek, Dhule and a seat in Mumbai. The Congress announced its candidate after the VBA separately announced names for some Lok Sabha seats, signaling a split.

Mr Chavan, however, said the Congress “will withdraw the Congress candidate from Akola if there is an alliance with the VBA”. Prakash Ambedkar has announced that he will contest from Akola seat.

“There is no alliance with the VBA yet. If there is no alliance, we will announce candidates. But even now, even at this stage, if (Prakash) Ambedkar reconciles, we will withdraw our candidate, but for that there has to be an alliance,” Mr Chavan said.

Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of Dalit icon and father of the Constitution BR Ambedkar, recently announced candidates for nine Lok Sabha seats in the state, dashing his party’s hopes of joining the MVA. He joked about the opposition’s alliance in the state and said there was a clear difference of opinion.

VBA candidates finished third in many constituencies in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, in which Congress or NCP nominees (undivided) came second, indicating that votes were divided in favor of the winning candidates, mainly from the BJP and Shiv Sena (undivided).

The former Maharashtra Chief Minister also expressed his willingness to contest from the Satara seat. He recently held a closed-door meeting with Maharashtra NCP (Sharad Pawar) chief Jayant Patil in Karad after NCP MP from Satara Shrinivas Patil refused to contest citing health concerns.

Mr Chavan, the MLA from Karad South constituency, said that since the Satara Lok Sabha constituency falls under the NCP (SP) quota, Sharad Pawar will decide on the candidate.

“There’s just a possibility of this match. The NCP will have to find a candidate and they will have to ensure that a strong candidate is fielded against the likely BJP candidate. The BJP is most likely to field Uday Bhosle, who was earlier with the NCP, from the seat. Discussions are ongoing,” he said.

He dismissed rumors of him contesting under the NCP (SP) symbol and said, “If I contest, I will contest under the Congress symbol. It is for Sharad Pawar’s NCP to decide. I have expressed my willingness. “

Mr Chavan represented Satara in Parliament in the 1990s. He was defeated by Shrinivas Patil in 1999 after Sharad Pawar left the Congress and formed the Nationalist Congress Party. Since then, the NCP has fielded (undivided) candidates from Satara.

He also insisted that the candidates for all Lok Sabha seats from Maharashtra will be announced soon. “Of the 48 seats, the names for 45 to 46 seats have been decided. There are issues in two or three seats and they will be resolved in a day or two,” the senior Congress leader said.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won 23 of the 25 seats contested, while the undivided Shiv Sena secured 18 of the 23 seats.

Lok Sabha elections to the 48 seats in the state – the largest contributor to the Lok Sabha after Uttar Pradesh – will be held in five phases between April 19 and May 20 and counting of votes will take place on June 4.

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