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Congress Offers to Withdraw Candidate Against Prakash Ambedkar if he Reconciles



Mumbai: Continuing its efforts to woo Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) Prakash Ambedkar, the Congress on Tuesday said it would withdraw its candidate from the Akola seat if the Dalit leader formally joins the opposition MVA alliance. Senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan said that the offer of five Lok Sabha seats is open for the VBA even now if Ambedkar reconciles.

“The Congress will withdraw the Congress candidate from Akola if there is an alliance with the VBA,” said Chavan, who is heading the party’s campaign in Maharashtra.

“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,” he added.

Chavan’s comments have come after his party nominated Abhay Patil to contest the Akola constituency for the Lok Sabha polls. Ambedkar has already announced that he would contest from the Akola seat.

The Dalit leader has been in discussions with the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) – an alliance comprising the Congress, NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar) and the Shiv Sena (UBT) – for several months for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra. The MVA had earlier given the VBA a proposal for five seats, including Akola, Ramtek, Dhule and a seat in Mumbai, but the talks failed. Ambedkar, last week, announced nine eight candidates from the VBA, indicating that the possibility of joining hands with the opposition alliance was over.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the VBA candidates fared impressively by finishing third in many constituencies in Maharashtra, thereby denting the chances of Congress and NCP (undivided). The division of votes helped the BJP and Shiv Sena (undivided) alliance, which won 41 out of 48 seats in Maharashtra.

In 2019, Ambedkar contested from Akola and Solapur but lost in both seats. He was elected from Akola in 1998 as a candidate of the Republican Party of India and a year later, in 1999, as a candidate of Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh.

However, since 2004 Akola has been a BJP stronghold with Sanjay Dhotre winning the seat for consecutive four times. The BJP has replaced Sanjay, who is ailing, with his son Anup for 2024.



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