Following the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi’s (VBA) decision to field an AIMIM candidate from Aurangabad, Justice (retd) B G Kolse Patil, who had claimed the seat for himself, has decided to withdraw support to the Prakash Ambedkar-led front. In a Facebook post, Kolse Patil said he has decided to no longer support the VBA, a political front of several small political groups, including Ambedkar’s Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh and Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM, as it had failed to enter into an alliance with the Congress-NCP to defeat the BJP.
“I have been convincing my old friend, Ambedkar, to ally with the Congress, which is the only party now that can stop the communal BJP from coming to power. I made the last attempt yesterday (March 16) to convince him,” said Patil.
He said he might still go ahead and contest the elections. “I was supposed to contest as a candidate of Janata Dal (Secular) and had sought the support of Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi. I was assured support by Ambedkar, but now I have withdrawn my support to Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi. I have already declared my intention to contest and have not changed my mind as of now,” Kolse Patil told The Indian Express.
Patil, one of the key organisers of the 2017 Elgaar Parishad event, investigation into which has led to a crackdown on Maoist groups and arrest of some prominent activists, had a few weeks ago unilaterally announced his intention to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Aurangabad, a place he claimed to have been associated with since the early 1970s. He had also asked the Congress and NCP to support him and not put up any candidate against him. There was no mention of JD(S) at that time.
He had claimed that his candidature from Aurangabad had the backing of the VBA. Though Ambedkar did endorse his candidature, Patil’s name was missing when the VBA announced its candidates for 37 seats last week. As reported by The Indian Express, it emerged that sitting local AIMIM MLA Imtiaz Jaleel also wanted to contest from the seat, and had threatened to go alone if he was not nominated by the VBA.
On Friday, Ambedkar conceded to Jaleel’s demand and asked Owaisi to nominate AIMIM’s candidate from Aurangabad. In the statement on Sunday, Patil did not refer to the internal tussle in the VBA over Aurangabad seat, and instead cited the inability of VBA to stitch an alliance with the Congress-NCP as his reason to withdraw support from the party.
“I had taken a strong and clear stand in the last five years against the rule of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief (Amit) Shah. The Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi decision has hurt the cause I am fighting for, so I have decided to not give my support to them,” Patil said.
“The Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi had been promising me of discussions with the Congress for the alliance so I was intervening for it till yesterday. However, the declaration of the list of candidates by Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi has closed the doors for discussion on the alliance. I would feel guilty if Modi-Shah duo benefit because of my decision. I had taken the stand to take them on and remove them from power,” he said.
Over the years, Patil said, he had been working for the weaker classes. “At present, there is no place in our country to accept the thought that real development lies in creating new generations having an independent thought process,” he said.