Willing to go 50:50 with Congress in Assembly polls: Ambedkar
Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) leader Prakash Ambedkar has offered to fight the Assembly polls together with the Congress and said he was willing to share the seats 50:50. Mr Ambedkar said he had not yet received any calls from the Congress to discuss the possibility.The VBA, along with the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM), had contested all 48 seats in the State in the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year. While the coalition won the Aurangabad seat, it secured huge gains in others and polled nearly 40 lakh votes across the State. Key leaders, such as former chief minister Ashok Chavan and Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana leader Raju Shetti, blamed their loss on the votes polled by VBA candidate in their constituencies. Mr. Ambedkar said he had made a similar offer to the Congress before the Lok Sabha elections, but decided to contest all the seats after the offer was rejected. “We are preparing to contest all 288 seats. The Congress was not ready to form an alliance back then, they are not ready even today. We are willing to fight 144 seats, they can contest the other 144,” he said.He said the Congress only has suitable candidates for around 80 seats. “Even the last time (Lok Sabha) I had said that the Congress andNationalist Congress Party didn’t have candidates for half the seats they were contesting,” he said. Mr. Ambedkar said they were also in talks with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and expected something fruitful to emerge, but said they had not yet heard from the AIMIM or Asaduddin Owaisi for seat-sharing talks.