Ahead of polls, AIMIM cuts ties with Ambedkar’s VBA

first_imgThe alliance between the Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) and the Asaduddin Owaisi-led All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) was split wide open on Friday after the AIMIM expressed dissatisfaction over the seat-sharing arrangements. In a press release issued by the AIMIM’s State president Imtiaz Jaleel, the lone MP of the alliance, said the parties had failed to arrive at a comfortable seat distribution figure after discussions over two months. “The VBA has conveyed to us that it could allot us only eight of the 288 Assembly seats. This is simply unacceptable and unjustified as it does not include the seat of the sitting AIMIM MLA from Aurangabad Central,” said Mr. Jaleel, who held the Aurangabad Central seat before leaving it to contest the Lok Sabha election.He said Mr. Ambedkar had sent an email regarding this seat-sharing arrangement to Mr. Owaisi. Mr. Jaleel said AIMIM leader Dr. Gaffar Qadri, too, held a series of meetings with Mr. Ambedkar, the last one being in Pune as recently as Thursday.According to sources, the AIMIM had been demanding 100 seats. While open to compromise, the party’s leaders said the VBA’s offer of a paltry eight was “extremely unjust” in view of the fact that the lone MP of the alliance was from the AIMIM.“The MIM had contested 24 seats in the last Assembly polls and two of its candidates had been elected as MLAs from the Aurangabad and Byculla seats. The party had emerged second and third positions on nine seats… today the party has 150 corporators and councillors from different castes and communities with 26 corporators in the Auranagabd Municipal Corporation,” Mr. Jaleel said.While wishing the VBA “good luck”, he said irrespective of the state of the alliance, both parties were committed to taking up issues of the oppressed classes.Following Mr. Jaleel’s statement, VBA leaders said a call on the status of the alliance would be taken only by Mr. Ambedkar and Mr. Owaisi.Ratan Bansode of the VBA said, “Asaduddin Owaisi had sent us a list of 17 seats the AIMIM wished to contest on. Preliminary talks are being held on these seats. We have received no communication or any letter from Mr. Owaisi on his party severing ties with us. Until we do so, the VBA still considers its alliance with the AIMIM as intact.”But AIMIM leader Anjum Inamdar told the The Hindu, “Mr. Jaleel’s statement has made clear that we are going it alone. How can the VBA say that Mr. Jaleel’s remarks lack weight? The elections are going to be held in the State and Mr. Jaleel is our State president.”The alliance between the Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh— (Mr. Ambedkar’s original party name) — and the AIMIM was forged 11 months ago amid great fanfare. It queered the pitch for the Congress and NCP in a big way in the Lok Sabha elections by eating into their traditional Dalit-minority vote bank.While winning only one seat (that of Mr. Jaleel), the alliance managed several major upsets in the State by splitting votes that ensured the defeats of Swabhimani Paksha leader Raju Shetti in Hatkanangale, senior Congressmen Sushilkumar Shinde in Solapur and Ashok Chavan in Nanded, among others. Apart from Mr. Jaleel, the party currently has one legislator (Waris Pathan from Byculla in Mumbai) and nearly 140 corporators and councillors in civic bodies across the State, with a strong base in Aurangabad, Solapur, Nanded and Yavatmal districts.The first rumblings of discontent within the alliance came in June, soon after the Lok Sabha polls, with Mr. Ambedkar alleging that the lack of complete support from the Muslim community had proved to be the VBA’s undoing.Meanwhile, Mr. Jaleel said the party will soon release its schedule of interviews of prospective candidates, which would be held in Aurangabad.last_img