Pune: Following the speculation of a split in the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA), Prakash Ambedkar, President of Bharatiya Republican Party (BRP)-Bahujan Mahasangh, skipped a press conference in the city to avoid questions regarding divide in VBA over seat-sharing in the upcoming State assembly polls.
For the past few days, the VBA is abuzz with talks about a split between BRP President Prakash Ambedkar and Asududdin Owaisi of the All India Majlis-e-lttehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM). The VBA was formed before Lok Sabha polls in Maharashtra. It contested elections on 48 Lok Sabha seats and bagged the Aurangabad seat. AIMIM candidate Imtiaz Jaleel Syed had won from Aurangabad.
The leaders were discussing whether to fight the State assembly polls on their own or share seats with the Congress-NCP grand alliance.
Meanwhile, according to an internal source in VBA and AIMIM, there are differences of opinion on the seat-sharing formula between the two parties.
As per AIMIM source, Ambedkar offered AIMIM 17 seats out of the total 288 assembly seats. AIMIM MP Syed objected to this.
On Saturday, Ambedkar, who is one of the founder-members of VBA, called a press conference to declare the road map for VBA in the upcoming State assembly polls. However, as Ambedkar was expecting questions over the alleged rift, he decided to skip the conference.
VBA spokesperson Sachin Mali said, “AIMIM MP Imtiaz Jaleel Syed has posted a letter on social media about a division in the alliance. However, AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi has not officially declared anything about the ties. So, the alliance is still existing.”
He clarified that Jaleel was demanding 100 seats while there is only 12 per cent Muslim population. “We proposed to give 17 seats, but Jaleel refused. Now, I hope Owaisi will take the right decision,” Mali said.