Congress asks Uddhav, Sr Pawar to agree to Ambedkar proposal on seat-sharing

Of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra, the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance won 41 last time.

Mumbai: Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole on Tuesday asked Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) allies Shiv Sena (UBT) and the Nationalist Congress Party (Sharadchandra Pawar) to agree to a seat-sharing formula for Lok Sabha polls proposed by the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA)

led by Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of B R Ambedkar, in the state.

He expressed disappointment over Shiv Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray unilaterally announcing his party’s candidate for the Sangli Lok Sabha seat, which Congress traditionally contests.

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“Everybody needs to stick to the framework of an alliance. The Congress is taking steps to forge an alliance, and Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar (chief of NCP-SP) need to agree to the proposal moved by Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi,” Patole said.

The Congress leader, however, did not elaborate on Ambedkar’s proposal for a tie-up in Maharashtra between the four parties.

Patole made the statement on the eve of the deadline for filing nominations for the first phase of Lok Sabha elections. In Maharashtra, the first phase covers five Lok Sabha seats in the Vidarbha region — Ramtek, Nagpur, Bhandara-Gondia, Gadchiroli-Chimur and Chandrapur.

He spoke to reporters after Congress candidate Vikas Thakre filed his nomination from Nagpur, where Union minister Nitin Gadkari is the BJP nominee.

The state Congress chief appeared miffed with the Shiv Sena (UBT) for announcing its candidate for the Sangli Lok Sabha seat in western Maharashtra.

“The Congress traditionally contests Sangli and Bhiwandi (in Thane district) Lok Sabha seats. What happened in Sangli is not right. The Congress party has good candidates for both the seats,” Patole told reporters.

The VBA had contested the 2019 parliamentary elections separately. According to political analysts, the Ambedkar-led outfit cut into the votes of Congress and undivided NCP candidates, and indirectly helped nominees of the BJP and united Shiv Sena on several seats.

Of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra, the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance won 41 last time.

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