February 5, 2018 4:02:44 am
Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh president Prakash Ambedkar Sunday declared his party would not have any alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party in the coming elections, saying the latter had always provided political patronage to Samast Hindu Aghadi chief Milind Ekbote, an accused in the case related to Bhima-Koregaon violence of January 1. At the end of the two-day national executive meeting of BBM held in Mumbai, a resolution was adopted to this effect.
Speaking to the media at the party headquarters in Dadar, Ambedkar said, “During the Congress-NCP government, there were several instances of Hindu-Muslims riots, which were the handiwork of Milind Ekbote. There were reports from top police officials and intelligence recommending the arrest of Ekbote. NCP president Sharad Pawar intervened and stopped his arrest.” He added, “The police department had taken a final decision to arrest Ekbote for riots in November 2011. It was based on a series of activities including recurring communal clashes between Hindus and Muslims in the years.”
Alleging that Pawar’s interference prevented the police from arresting Ekbote, the BBM president also circulated a letter from the Pune police department to substantiate his claims how the decision to arrest Ekbote was almost final. The BBM president said, “Whether it is matter related to communal clashes way back in 2001 or recent Bhima Koregaon, Ekbote’s organisation is responsible. The Bhima Koregaon violence was Maratha versus Dalit clashes.”
Ambedkar’s decision to distance his party from the NCP dents the efforts undertaken by senior leader Sharad Pawar to bring all non-BJP parties together on a common forum. The BBM leader said, “Why should we hobnob with the NCP, which is responsible for allowing fanatic Hindutva forces led by Ekbote to thrive without any action.” Ambedkar also urged the Left Front and other like-minded parties not to associate with the NCP.
The NCP, meanwhile, dismissed Ambedkar’s charge against Sharad Pawar as “baseless”. “Ambedkar’s charges are baseless. The party and its leader have always advocated secular politics, and have never done anything that would be detrimental to the secularism or society,” party chief spokesperson Nawab Malik said in a statement. He added, “Sharad Pawar has never interfered in the working of any of his ministers in Maharashtra. The fact that then home minister Chhagan Bhujbal could arrest late Bal Thackeray shows the independence given by NCP to its ministers. Had Pawar intervened, would Thackeray’s arrest have been possible?”
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