Mumbai: Prakash Ambedkar’s Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) was the only political party that put up candidates in all 288 seats in the Maharashtra polls but not only did it fail to win even a single seat, its vote share also dipped compared with the Lok Sabha polls, where its impressive performance had come as a surprise.
The only district where VBA managed to put up a fight was Ambedkar’s home district of Akola in the Vidarbha region.
In the run-up to the election, Ambedkar had tried to arrive at alliance equations far exceeding his limits which many, including his then alliance partner AIMIM, termed as arrogance.
Ambedkar offered 144 seats to the Congress in order to strike an alliance with him. The Congress-NCP shunned him and went ahead with some other smaller parties.
A couple of weeks before the election, AIMIM also dumped him as he offered only eight seats to the party led by Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi.
The AIMIM’s Maharashtra chief Imtiyaz Jaleel went on allege that Ambedkar was being misled by RSS people around him.
As the poll results show, AIMIM managed to win two seats but VBA could not open its account.
In the run-up to the election, Ambedkar had told HuffPost India that he expects to do better than the Lok Sabha polls.
In the Lok Sabha election, the Ambedkar-Owaisi partnership had led to NCP and Congress’s defeat at 12 places and the VBA had secured over 42,00,000 votes.
Even in the assembly election, Ambedkar did not win any seat but he again dented Congress-NCP’s chances in 23 seats, where the votes garnered by VBA candidates were more than the losing margin of Congress-NCP candidates.
Speaking to reporters in Aurangabad after election results, Jaleel said that the lack of an alliance damaged both Muslim and Dalit communities.
“We had official candidates in 236 seats and sponsored candidates in the rest of the seats. The propaganda calling us casteist and communal affected the voter perception but we will sit and discuss as to what went wrong. But we did put up a spirited fight. We will try to find out the reasons for this defeat and try to rectify errors. The candidates which we gave came from diverse backgrounds and lowest strata of the society,” said VBA spokesperson Disha Shaikh said.