Maharashtra: Former allies VBA to contest all assembly seats, MIM in 44 seats

Vanchit Bahujan Aaghadi (VBA) is contesting all 288 seats and the All India Majilis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) will contest 44 out of the 288 seats in the upcoming Maharashtra assembly elections scheduled to be held on 21 October.

Prakash Ambedkar’s VBA and Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM will be contesting separately. They had allied during the general election. The final tally was announced after the AIMIM backed out of the VBA.

VBA-AIMIM alliance in 2019 Lok Sabha Elections

In 2018, in response to the government’s decision to clamp down on the Dalit and other Bahujan communities following violence at Bhima Koregaon near Pune , Prakash Ambedkar formed the VBA, a front with a focus on Dalits, other backward castes and minorities, in an alliance with AIMIM.

In 2019 Lok Sabha elections, they put up candidates in all 48 Lok Sabha seats. The VBA-AIMIM alliance polled 41 lakh votes in the Lok Sabha election, that is, 14 per cent of the voters were in their favour. In 13 Lok Sabha seats, more than one lakh votes were cast in favour of the VBA-AIMIM. In eight seats, its vote share was more than 10 per cent. One of them, Imtiyaz Jalil of AIMIM got elected from Aurangabad, defeating senior Sena MP Chandrakant Khaire.

VBA

“We are contesting all 288 seats. Organizationally, even the BJP doesn’t match us. They have to borrow candidates to complete 288. We don’t have to do that. One of the fallouts of this alliance politics is wherever the BJP contests, the Shiv Sena is weak and wherever the Shiv Sena is contesting, the BJP is weak. Same is the situation of Congress-NCP. So organisationally we are the strongest in this state and therefore we are able to put up candidates at the earliest,” in an interview with HuffPost India, VBA founder Prakash Ambedkar said.

The VBA, which was formed in 2018, is a young party with zero representation in state assembly.

AIMIM

AIMIM’s current strength in Maharashtra is one MP, two legislators and approximately 150 corporators and councillors. In the 2014 Assembly election, the party contested 24 seats and won two.

“Our votes will not transfer to the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi where we contest, but indirectly the party is not opposing the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi, and is supporting it in places where we don’t have candidates,” AIMIM leader Live Mint.

“Many political observers see the break-up of the VBA-AIMIM alliance as pitiable. There is no credible opposition in the State and the field has been left wide open for the BJP-Sena alliance to register a win. While the VBA-AIMIM was not a powerful electoral alliance that could have brought down the incumbent BJP-Sena regime, it offered an alternative to a considerable section of voters. Moreover, it had the dynamism associated with a new alliance, something that the jaded Congress-NCP has long forgotten. To that extent, the AIMIM-VBA in the opposition would have been like a mosquito, tiny but capable of pinpricks. “

Lyla Bavadam, Frontline, Print edition : October 25, 2019

In the upcoming election, National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is being challenged by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) that mainly comprises the Congress and Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). NDA mainly comprises Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its traditional ally – the Shiv Sena. The NDA is locally known as ‘Maha-Yuti’ and the Congress-NCP alliance is locally known as ‘Maha-Aghadi’. Both alliances include other smaller partners.

Elections will be held for 288 of the state legislature’s 289 seats. One seat belongs to a nominated member. Voters in Maharashtra will head for polling in a single phase on October 21. Counting of votes will happen on October 24.

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