Exclusive: 'In politics, friends become enemies; you never know in which direction the coin will flip,' says Prakash Ambedkar

18 April,2024 11:44 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Sanjana Deshpande

Ambedkar, in an interview with Mid-day ahead of Lok Sabha Elections 2024, said that the poll battle in Maharashtra is not between the two alliances but rather between VBA and Bharatiya Janata Party

Prakash Ambedkar. Pic/X@VBAforIndia

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The heat of the electoral field is palpable in Maharashtra as only a little over (in less than) 24 hours is left for the Lok Sabha Elections 2024 to commence. The poll battle in the state is scrutinised by everyone as the state sends the second largest number of public representatives to the Lower House of the Parliament.

While the battle between Mahayuti and Maha Vikas Aghadi continued to be a focal point, the limelight was further divided with Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi assuming the centre stage. The party chief Prakash Ambedkar, who is campaigning in Maharashtra, is contesting Lok Sabha Elections 2024 from Akola.

Ambedkar, in an interview with Mid-day ahead of Lok Sabha Elections 2024, said that the poll battle in Maharashtra is not between the two alliances but rather between VBA and Bharatiya Janata Party.

"Maha Vikas Aghadi has been sidelined, it is nowhere to be seen. The electoral battle in Maharashtra is between the National Democratic Alliance led by the BJP and Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi and we have been campaigning for Lok Sabha Elections 2024 as such," said the seasoned politician when asked about the electoral fight in the state.

Prakash Ambedkar on campaigning, strategies for Lok Sabha Elections 2024

The VBA has been proactively engaging with the community and working for their welfare, which the party believes does give them an edge.

Ambedkar, while responding to a query about their strategy for the polls, said, that their inclusive politics is their USP and that they are compounding on it.

Also Read: Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Understanding Sena (UBT)'s power play & its impact on Maharashtra's political landscape

"We have nominated candidates from diverse backgrounds irrespective of their caste, or religion. Through the candidates we have nominated, we are giving out a message that our politics is inclusive. Due to our inclusive politics, the public side with us," the party supremo said adding that the candidates nominated from the BJP, except Pankaja Munde are from the same caste and they belong to the elite groups of their communities. This sends a message of not being an inclusive organisation, he said.

On failed talks with MVA

Responding to a query about the failed talks of seat-sharing with Maha Vikas Aghadi and the subsequent decision to fight elections solo, he remarked that the constituents of the alliance engage in dynastic politics and prefer keeping the status quo rather than rattling it.

"The parties (Shiv Sena-UBT, Congress, Nationalist Congress Party-SP) engage in dynastic politics. The leaders involved in talks follow orders from the top. The top brass of parties engaging in dynastic politics want to ensure their ‘gaddi' (throne) remains intact. Meanwhile, we believe in inclusive politics; when the ideologies do not match, how will the alliance work," said Ambedkar.

The BJP too is now being consumed by dynastic politics (as opposed to what they initially claimed), it is very evident from nine seats in Maharashtra, he added.

When asked whether he will be joining the Maha Vikas Aghadi during the impending state assembly elections, Ambedkar said, "In politics, friends become enemies and enemies become friends. You never know in which direction will the coin flip. We are assuming whatever role we have in Lok Sabha Elections 2024 and we will assume whatever role we have to play in state assembly polls."

On backing Congress in Lok Sabha Elections 2024

In a surprising turn of events, the VBA - which was invited to become a part of the coalition Maha Vikas Aghadi - announced they would be going solo in the dress and that they would be backing the Congress leader in seven seats.

When asked about the development since the two parties do not see eye to eye, Prakash Ambedkar said, "I felt like Congress was being sandwiched by Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar. It is also one of the constituents of the alliance and they must be heard too. Additionally, the seats they are contesting have been BJP stronghold."

"Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi's primary goal was to set up a strong opposition against the BJP-led NDA. We will do everything in our power (with the existing circumstances) to prevent the BJP from winning," said Ambedkar.

On Hindutva politics & BJP

When posed with a question about his opinion on Hindutva politics, he said, "Religious politics is dying down; it has even stopped in several areas in the northern part."

Looking at people celebrating the consecration of Ram Lalla at Ayodhya Ram Mandir, the BJP has mistaken it as public support for them. People were celebrating because it was a joyous occasion. After all, a dream that they harboured for years had come true, Ambedkar further said.

He added that the BJP's slogan ‘Ab ki bar, 400 paar' Is nothing but a catchphrase and that it will not come true. He reasons that the craze people had for Prime Minister Narendra Modi is dwindling.

Speaking about PM Modi's interview with the news agency ANI, he said, "PM Modi came across as a happy-go-lucky politician but in the talk, I saw the face of a ‘hukumshah' (dictator). He (in a roundabout way) told the public that he has set everything up and it seems like a threat."

"People should see this interview, recognise the reality and make an informed choice before voting," he appealed to the public.

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Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi Prakash Ambedkar Lok Sabha Elections 2024 maharashtra mumbai mumbai news
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