The VBA, however, has claimed that the AIMIM would remain its ally.
Mumbai: The alliance between the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) and Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) broke down on Friday as the former was willing to set aside only eight Assembly seats for the latter. Sources said that the AIMIM has demanded 98 seats from VBA chief Prakash Ambedkar for the upcoming Assembly election. The VBA, however, has claimed that the AIMIM would remain its ally.
A statement issued by AIMIM Maharashtra president and Aurangabad MP Imtiaz Jaleel stated that a “comfortable and respectable figure” could not be reached after nearly two months of seat-sharing talks. The VBA had conveyed that it could allot only eight seats out of the 288 seats in the Maharashtra Assembly to AIMIM as an alliance partner, it read. “This is simply unacceptable and unjustified, as the list does not include the sitting seat of AIMIM in Aurangabad Central (sic),” the statement read.
Mr Jaleel said AIMIM leader Gaffar Qadri had held a series of meetings with Mr Ambedkar, the last of which was on September 5 in Pune. “Balasaheb has sent an email to AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi, stating that he would give eight seats to his party. The AIMIM had contested 24 seats in the 2014 Maharashtra Assembly polls. We had won two seats — Aurangabad and
Byculla — and we were in the second and third position in nine seats,” the AIMIM leader’s statement read.
The lone AIMIM MP in Maharashtra said that the party has about 150 corporators and councillors across Maharashtra from different castes and communities.
The statement further read, “We respect and honour Balasaheb Ambedkar ji and will continue to do so. We wish him and the VBA good luck. Irrespective of our alliance not taking place, we are committed and will continue to take up the issues of the oppressed classes from the weaker sections of society.”
The AIMIM further said that it would be releasing its schedule of interviews with prospective candidates, which would be conducted in Aurangabad.
Meanwhile, Ashok Sonone, a parliamentary board member of the VBA, maintained that the AIMIM was still its alliance partner. “It has been with us since the beginning, and it will remain with us in the future,” he said.
Admitting that there would be differences over seats, Mr Sonone said Mr Ambedkar and Mr Owaisi would discuss the matter and take an appropriate decision. “We are committed to empowering the deprived. I am sure that the AIMIM will remain with us in this fight,” he said.