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Is VBA third option for Mumbai?

Updated on: 13 April,2024 06:50 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Prajakta Kasale |

After talks fall through on joining MVA, Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi fields 3 candidates in North, North West, South West

Is VBA third option for Mumbai?

Prakash Ambedkar with Opposition leaders in Mumbai during the Bharat Jodo Yatra rally in March this year. Pic/Rane Ashish

Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) is attempting to introduce a third dimension to head-to-head battles in Mumbai. The party has announced three candidates in Mumbai—one each in the North, North West, and South West constituencies. In the previous election, VBA garnered over 2.3 lakh votes in Mumbai, a figure that could be crucial in closely contested races.

The upcoming Lok Sabha election next month will see a direct confrontation between two alliances. While Maha Vikas Aaghadi (MVA) and Mahayuti are yet to announce their candidates for all six constituencies in the city, Prakash Ambedkar-led VBA has nominated three candidates in Mumbai, potentially altering the dynamics with their ability to attract 50,000 to 60,000 votes.

Prakash Ambedkar. File pic
Prakash Ambedkar. File pic

Although the party was in discussions with MVA until a fortnight ago, it decided to contest separately on the majority of seats in the state, including the six in Mumbai. VBA has nominated Beena Singh for Mumbai North, Sanjeev Kalkori for Mumbai North West, and Abul Hasan Khan for Mumbai South Central. Additionally, Nilesh Sambare (Bhiwandi) and Vijaya Mhatre (Palghar) have been announced as candidates for the MMR region. Khan’s nomination has been shifted from Mumbai North Central to Mumbai South Central, though no reasons have been provided. With the release of the fifth list, VBA has now declared 10 more Lok Sabha candidates, including three from Mumbai, bringing the overall count to 35.

In 2019, despite the direct contest between Yuti (Shiv Sena, BJP) and Aaghadi (Congress, NCP), VBA managed to secure 2,34,760 votes across the six Mumbai constituencies. During the 2019 Assembly elections, although VBA fielded candidates in over 250 out of a total of 288 seats, none of them emerged victorious. VBA’s former alliance partner, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), is also known for splitting the votes. In approximately 20 seats such as Nandgaon, Chandivali, Ulhasnagar, Pune Cantonment, Shivajinagar, and Paithan, the votes polled by VBA were often close to the margin of victory.

VBA’s performance in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections

North: Candidate
Sunil Thorat
Votes: 15,691

North West: Candidate
Suresh Shetty 
Votes: 23,367

North East: Candidate
Niharika Khondalay
Votes: 68,239

North Central: Candidate
Abdul Anjaria 
Votes: 33,703

South: Candidate
Anil Chaudhari 
Votes: 30,348

South Central: Candidate
Sanjay Bhosale
Votes: 63,412

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