MUMBAI: The new Chief Minister of Maharashtra after the assembly polls will be from the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA), said party president Prakash Ambedkar, even as its ally, the All India Majlis Ittehad ul Muslimeen (AIMIM), expressed displeasure over the number of seats offered to them and may even break away from the alliance.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, while criticizing the Congress-NCP last week, had termed the VBA as a serious contender in the assembly elections and added that the post of leader of the Opposition will go to the VBA instead of the two principal opposition parties. Prakash Ambedkar, however, mocked him, saying that the VBA will have its own Chief Minister after the election.
Speaking at his party office here, Ambedkar said he hasn’t yet shut the doors on the Congress if they are ready to accept his offer of 144 seats. He also said that his party’s stand on the NCP is firm and he won’t have any kind of alliance with it at all.
While revealing his future plans, Ambedkar said that the VBA’s strategy would be revealed at its grand rally in Kolhapur on September 18.
“A yatra will be started from Nagpur on September 8 and will cover three districts every day before culminating at the grand rally in Kolhapur,” he said.
He added that the doors for the Congress will be open till the party strategy is revealed in Kolhapur.
The AIMIM had demanded 98 seats even as Ambedkar had offered only eight seats to them. When asked about it, Ambedkar said that the arrangement has not been finalised yet and he is waiting for a decision from the Congress regarding the alliance.
On the other hand, state president of the AIMIM, Imtiyaz Jaleel, said that though their strength is being undermined by the VBA, they have decided to wait for some time before taking a final call about the alliance.
“Ambedkar and our party chief Owaisi had made the alliance possible. Hence we are waiting for directives from our party leaders and we shall act accordingly,” Jaleel said.
Jaleel, who had won the assembly election from Aurangabad in 2014, won the recent Lok Sabha election from Aurangabad constituency. The AIMIM wasn’t awarded any seat in the initial arrangement by the VBA. However, when Jaleel warned them of a rebellion, he was given a ticket from Aurangabad.
The MIM had contested 24 assembly seats in 2014 in Maharashtra and won two.
“We have gained strength over the past five years and want to contest 98 seats,” Jaleel said, adding that there is no question of contesting fewer seats than they had contested in 2014.