Jolt for Aghadi alliance as VBA names 8 candidates


However, the VBA has not yet formally announced its intention to sever its ties with the MVA in Maharashtra…reports Asian Lite News

Prakash Ambdekar of Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi announced on Wednesday the names of eight candidates for the upcoming elections, thus indicating that it would sever its ties with Maha Vikas Aghadi, or MVA, in Maharashtra.

The VBA has not yet formally announced its intention to sever its ties with the MVA in Maharashtra.

VBA said the name of one more candidate for Ramtek would be announced later in the afternoon. The VBA has named candidates for seats like Gadhciroli, Gondiua and Chandrapur where the Congress has already named candidates. The UBT Sena had announced a candidate for Sangli seat on Wednesday.

The names of the candidates were announced following a meeting of the Maharashtra State Committee of the Vanchit Bahujan Aaghadi on Tuesday.

“The VBA State Committee has decided not to field a candidate from Nagpur Parliamentary Constituency. VBA will support the candidate of the Indian National Congress from the Nagpur Parliamentary Constituency,” the party said in a press release.

The VBA’s candidates are: Prakash Y. Ambedkar (Akola), Sanjay G. Kewat (Bhandara-Gondiya LS seat), Hitesh P. Madavi (Gadchiroli-Chimur), Rajesh W. Belle (Chandrapur), Vasant R. Magar (Buldhana), Prajakta T. Pillewan (Amravati), Prof. Rajendra Salunke (Wardha), Khemsing P. Pawar (Yavatmal-Washim), and the nominee for Ramtek shall be announced on late Wednesday.

With this announcement it is curtains for the expanded Maha Vikas Aghadi with Ambedkar’s party contesting outside the alliance that comprises the Shiv Sena (UBT), Congress, and NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar).

The VBA had been pushing hard to forge an alliance with the MVA to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA in the Lok Sabha elections.

Uddhav faction leader and spokesperson Anand Dubey said, “We had decided to work with the VBA. Everything was okay. Today, by announcing the candidates, has he indicated that he will help the BJP through a backdoor channel. Has he not decided to work as the B Team of the BJP?”

“We are not saying this. The public is asking this question. If our message is to defeat the BJP, then why should we go solo in the elections, ” he asked the VBA leadership.

The state will vote in five phases for 48 constituencies in the upcoming general elections.

Lok Sabha Elections 2024 would be held in seven phases, starting on April 19 and ending on June 1. The results will be declared on June 4.

Flanked by top VBA leaders like state President Rekha Thakur, Vice-President Siddharth Mokale, D. Pundkar, Farooq Ahmed, Arundhati Sirsat, Ashok Sonone and others, Prakash Ambedkar said that a new front with Jarange-Patil will be formed “to initiate the politics of transformation”, with maximum candidates from the poor and backward communities, having a clean image.

The new front will declare its full ‘inclusive’ list of Lok Sabha candidates on April 2, from the poor, marginalised, underprivileged Marathas and Muslims, who will be supported by the masses.

The VBA’s announcement came amid appeals by the Congress-Shiv Sena (UBT)-Nationalist Congress Party (SP) and an offer of around 4-6 seats to stand with the MVA.

Congress objects to UBT Sena announcing candidates

After Shiv Sena (UBT) announced its first list of candidates in Maharashtra for the ensuing Lok Sabha elections, Congress’ senior state leader and member of the MVA negotiating committee Balasaheb Thorat said that the Sena should not have announced the candidates for Mumbai South Central, Bhiwandi and Sangli as those seats were still under discussion.

“Sena should not have announced the candidates for Mumbai South Central and Sangli. These were still under discussion,” Thorat said speaking to ANI on Friday.

The Shiv Sena (UBT) named senior leader Anil Desai from the Mumbai South Central parliamentary constituency and Chandrahar Patil in Sangli.

“The Congress leaders are angy at the list released by the Uddhav Shiv Sena today. I would request the Sena to reconsider its candidates list that it has announced. Discussions were on in some of the seats and everyone was expected to follow the spirit of the Aghadi,” Thorat said speaking in a video statement on Wednesday.

Thorat, who was leading the seat-sharing talks with the Shiv Sena on behalf of the Maharashtra Congress, questioned the announcement of seats while discussions on some seats were still ongoing.

“Discussion was ongoing, on the seats of Sangli, Bhiwandi and South Central Mumbai. In such a situation, how can candidates’ names be announced in a one-sided manner. This issue will be discussed in the next meeting of Mahavikas Aghadi,” Thorat said.

Thorat also shared that Congress leaders from Sangli are going to Delhi to meet the party high command.

Meanwhile, Mumbai Congress President Varsha Gaikwad said that they have conveyed their displeasure about the Shiv Sena seats announced in Mumbai to the pary high command.

“Shiv Sena UBT should not have unilaterally declared candidates on the Sangli seat and the seats where discussions were still on among allies. We have conveyed our displeasure to the party leadership about Mumbai and we will take steps as suggested by our leadership,” Gaikwad said.

On Wednesday morning, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut took to X (formerly known as Twitter) to share the list of the 17 candidates, namely for Raigad, Ratnagiri, Thane, Parbhani, Buldhana, Yavatmal, Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar, Shirdi, South Mumbai, North West Mumbai, North East Mumbai, Sangli, Hingoli, Dharshiv, Nasik and Maval seats.

The UBT Sena is fighting the Maharashtra polls in alliance with the Congress, NCP (Sharad Pawar) and the Congress.Lok Sabha polls in Maharashtra will be held in five phases on April 19, April 26, May 7, May 13 and May 20.

The state, with its 48 Lok Sabha seats, is the second-largest contributor to the lower house of Parliament after Uttar Pradesh. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won 23 out of 25 contested seats, while the undivided Shiv Sena secured 18 out of 23 seats.

The undivided NCP, part of the opposition alliance, contested 19 seats and won four. Following the split in the Shiva Sena 2022, Eknath Shinde faction aligned with the BJP. (ANI)

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