VBA damaged Cong-NCP’s prospects in Maharashtra
PUNE: Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh President Prakash Ambedkar and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) supremo Asaduddin Owaisi-led alliance Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) damaged the political aspirations of the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) led alliance and indirectly helped the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Shiv Sena alliance.
This factor was witnessed in five Lok Sabha seats of Maharashtra. The VBA succeeded in opening its first account by winning the Aurangabad Lok Sabha seat. Congress suffered a major setback due to the VBA factor, as two of its senior leaders, namely Sushilkumar Shinde and Ashok Chavan suffered defeats. Both had been former chief ministers of Maharashtra.
After talks of forming a Grand Alliance failed, VBA took the decision to contest all 48 Lok Sabha seats in the State. Congress had already expressed fears that the VBA would damage its prospects. Now, with the results being declared, their fears have come true, as they have won only one seat. The situation has remained the same as in 2014. However, the VBA created history by winning one seat.
AIMIM candidate Imtiaz Jaleel Syed emerged victorious in Aurangabad Lok Sabha constituency by defeating Shiv Sena candidate Chandrakant Khaire.
Traditionally, Muslims and Dalits are considered as Congress’ vote bank. But now, both these groups are drifting away from the party. These two communities, when added with the other small communities like Sali, Mali, Koli, Dhangar, Matang, Teli, etc, have become a sizable political force, which Prakash Ambedkar converted into VBA’s vote bank.
Analysing the State’s statistics of the Lok Sabha results, there are nine seats in the State where VBA is the second runner-up after the Congress. VBA bagged a total of 41,32,602 votes. They have received minimum of 25,000 to three lakh votes in all 48 constituencies in the State. Nanded, Solapur, Sangli, Hatkangle, Parbhani are six constituencies, where VBA candidates damaged the NCP-Congress alliance.
In Akola constituency, VBA candidate Prakash Ambedkar is the first runner-up. Ambedkar contested elections from Solapur and Akola. In Solapur, he was the second runner-up and was responsible for the defeat of Congress leader and former chief minister Sushilkumar Shinde. BJP candidate Jai Siddeshwar Shivacharya Mahaswamiji was elected and got a total of 5,24,985 votes. Shinde was the first runner-up with 3,66,377 votes while Ambedkar stood third bagging 1,70,007 votes. If we add Shinde’s and Ambedkar’s votes, it totals 5,36,384 votes, which is more than the number of votes winner Jai Siddheshwar Swami got.
Likewise in Nanded, the total number of votes bagged by VBA and Congress is higher than that of winning BJP candidate Prataprao Chikhalikar, who got 4,86,806 votes. Congress candidate Ashok Chavan received 4,46,658 votes, whereas VBA candidate Yashpal Bhinge got 1,66,196 votes. The addition of both candidates’ votes is 6,12,854 which is more than the tally of the winning candidate.
In Hatkanangle, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana President Raju Shetti, one of the partners of the Grand alliance, lost the seat Shiv Sena candidate Dhairyasheel Mane. He got a total of 5,85,776 votes, whereas Shetti received 4,89,737 and Aslam Sayyad bagged 1,23,419 votes. Both candidates grand total is 6,13,156 votes and is more than the winning candidate’s votes.
The similar situation was seen in Sangli constituency, where BJP candidate Sanjay Patil received 5,08995 votes, which was less than Swabhimani candidate Vishal Patil (3,44,643 votes) and VBA candidate Gopichand Padalkar (3,00,234 votes) combined.
Aurangabad-based political observer Praful Dhepe said, “Prakash Ambedkar exhibited his will and confidence to put up a political fight using his own political strategy. He improved the Akola model and applied it on a larger scale in the Lok Sabha elections under the VBA banner, which has fetched good results for him. And that’s the real worry for the Congress. But, Congress lost their core vote bank to the VBA and AIMIM.”
“The Congress, instead of accepting the fact, started playing the blame game that will not help them regain their lost bastion. Politics is not a blaming game, it’s now more of strategy and hard labour. If you just keep putting the blame on someone else for your bad performance, how will the voters trust Congress,” he further added.