Hyderabad: The much talked about Muslim-Dalit alliance between the All India Majilis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) and the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) has hit an impasse with the AIMIM backing out of the partnership over allotment of seats. A statement from AIMIM member of parliament Imtiyaz Jaleel on Friday evening, rejected the VBA’s offer of just eight out of 288 assembly seats for the upcoming Maharashtra state elections and termed it “unacceptable and unjustified".
“AIMIM informs that after prolong discussions lasting for near two months with Mr. Balasaheb (Prakash Ambedkar) Ambedkarji, president of Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi, we could not reach at a comfortable and respectable figure of seat distribution between both presidents. VBA conveyed that they could allot only eight seats out of the 288 assembly seats in the Maharashtra assembly to AIMIM as alliance partner. This is simply unacceptable and unjustified as the list does not include the sitting seat of AIMIM in Aurangabad central," said Jaleel’s statement.
Jaleel, who is also the AIMIM president for Maharashtra, said that another of his party leader, Gaffar Qadri, also had series of meetings with Prakash Ambedkar, the last being held on 5 September in Pune. But even that did not yield results. “Mr Balasaheb has sent an email to Mr. (Asaduddin) Owaisi that he would give 8 seats to the AIMIM," he added. Owaisi heads the Hyderabad-based AIMIM and is also the Lok Sabha MP from the Hyderabad seat.
A senior AIMIM from Hyderabad, who did not want to be quoted, said that discussions between the VBA and his party were on from some time regarding seat distribution. The VBA is led by Prakash Ambedkar’s Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM), and is backed by other Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe, Muslim and Backward Classes organisations. The AIMIM tied up with the VBA to wrest both Muslim and Dalit votes, which together form about 35% of Maharashtra’s population.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the AIMIM managed to wrest the Aurangabad MP seat from the Shiv Sena. It was also the first time that it won a seat outside Hyderabad and its home state of Telangana. In the 2014 Maharashtra state polls, the AIMIM had contested 24 seats. It won two MLAs from the Aurangabad and Byculla seats, and stood second and third in nine seats.
“Today the party has about 150 corporators and councillors across Maharashtra from different castes and communities. In the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) where we have 26 corporators, our leader of opposition and the group leader in AMC are both from the SC category, namely Mr. Sarita Arun Borde and Mr. Gangadhar Dhage," stated Jaleel’s statement. It added that AIMIM will release its list of prospective candidates soon.