MUMBAI: Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar said on Thursday that he is open to alliance with the Congress but not with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), claiming that the Sharad Pawar-led party is not "secular".
Ambedkar announced earlier this week that his party, Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh, would join hands with Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM in the coming Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.
"I have joined hands with the AIMIM and now kept the doors open for a tie-up with Congress. But I am not comfortable with the NCP, as its Lok Sabha member from Satara talks in favour of Sambhaji Bhide," Ambedkar said, speaking to the media here.
Bhide, a pro-Hindutva leader, is facing a police case for allegedly inciting violence at Koregaon Bhima near Pune in January this year.
NCP's Satara MP Udayanraje Bhosale has been vocal about his support to Bhide.
"We are ready to forge alliance with Congress even on the last day for submission of nominations for elections," Ambedkar said.
Asked further about his reservations about the Sharad Pawar-led party, Ambedkar said, "Congress should assure us that NCP will not align with the BJP, then we will decide.
"Pawar himself is a secular leader but his party is not," he said.
"After the 2014 (Maharashtra) Assembly elections, Shiv Sena was not keen on extending support to the BJP. But because of pressure from his MLAs, Pawar supported the BJP for a month. Therefore we cannot join hands with the NCP," Ambedkar said.
Commenting on RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's statements during his lecture-series in Delhi, the Dalit leader termed them as an attempt to mislead voters.
"These statements are a distraction and an attempt to portray that RSS is changing. It is trickery and nothing else," he said.
Former RSS supremo M S Golwalkar's book "We or Our Nationhood Defined" is "as good as Gospel" for the Sangh, Ambedkar said.
"The thoughts and ideas propagated in the book are not acceptable to us," he said.
"The RSS has no regard for the Constitution. The book upholds the idea that Hinduism will remain the primary religion at the national level and other religions will remain secondary," Ambedkar claimed.