Home India Lok Sabha Elections 2024, Maharashtra Seat-Sharing Talks, Prithviraj Chavan: If Prakash Ambedkar Reconciles…

Lok Sabha Elections 2024, Maharashtra Seat-Sharing Talks, Prithviraj Chavan: If Prakash Ambedkar Reconciles…

Lok Sabha Elections 2024, Maharashtra Seat-Sharing Talks, Prithviraj Chavan: If Prakash Ambedkar Reconciles…


Prithviraj Chavan insisted that candidates for Maharashtra seats will be announced soon.


Former Maharashtra chief minister and senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan held out an olive branch to his party’s ‘almost ally’ Prakash Ambedkar today amid differences over the seat-sharing formula for the Lok Sabha elections. Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) was in touch with Maha Vikas Aghadi or MVA – an alliance comprising the Congress, NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar) and the Shiv Sena (UBT) for the Lok Sabha polls but the talks failed.

Yesterday, the Congress announced the name of a candidate from Akola even as the MVA had earlier given the VBA a proposal for five seats, including Akola, Ramtek, Dhule and a seat in Mumbai. The Congress announced its candidate after the VBA separately declared names for some Lok Sabha seats, hinting at a rift.

Mr Chavan, however, said that the Congress “will withdraw the Congress candidate from Akola if there is an alliance with the VBA”. Prakash Ambedkar has announced that he would contest from the Akola seat.

“There is no alliance with the VBA yet. If there is no alliance, we will declare candidates. But even now, at this stage also, if (Prakash) Ambedkar reconciles, we will withdraw our candidate but for that, there has to be an alliance,” said Mr Chavan.

Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of Dalit icon and the father of the Constitution, BR Ambedkar, recently announced candidates for nine Lok Sabha seats in the state, crashing hopes of his party joining the MVA. He took a jibe at the opposition alliance in the state and said there was a clear divergence of opinions.

VBA candidates finished third in many constituencies in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, in which nominees of the Congress or NCP (undivided) came second, indicating that votes were split in favour of winning candidates, mostly from the BJP and Shiv Sena (undivided).

The former Maharashtra Chief Minister also expressed his willingness to contest from the Satara seat. He recently held a closed-door meeting with Maharashtra NCP (Sharad Pawar) chief Jayant Patil in Karad after the NCP MP from Satara, Shrinivas Patil, declined to contest owing to health issues.

Mr Chavan, the MLA from the Karad South constituency, said since the Satara Lok Sabha constituency comes under NCP (SP) quota, Sharad Pawar will decide the candidate.

“There is just a possibility of this contest. The NCP will have to find a candidate and they will have to make sure that a strong candidate is put up against the probable BJP candidate. The BJP will most likely field Uday Bhosle, who was earlier with the NCP, from the seat. Discussions are going on,” he said.

Dismissing the rumours that he might contest under the NCP (SP) symbol, he said, “If I contest, I will be contesting under the Congress symbol. It’s up to Sharad Pawar’s NCP to decide. I have conveyed my willingness.”

Mr Chavan represented Satara in Parliament in the 1990s. He was defeated by Shrinivas Patil in 1999 after Sharad Pawar walked out of the Congress and formed the Nationalist Congress Party. Since then, the NCP (undivided) has fielded candidates from Satara.

He also insisted that candidates for all Lok Sabha seats from Maharashtra will be announced soon. “Out of the 48 seats, names for 45 to 46 seats have been decided. There are issues in two or three seats and that will be sorted in a day or two,” said the senior Congress leader.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won 23 out of 25 contested seats, while the undivided Shiv Sena secured 18 out of 23 seats.

Lok Sabha elections to the 48 seats in the state – the second-largest contributor to the Lok Sabha after Uttar Pradesh – will be held in five phases between April 19 and May 20 and votes will be counted on June 4.

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