Prakash Ambedkar interview: ‘Dalits, Muslims will not vote for Congress even if disillusioned with Modi’https://indianexpress.com/elections/prakash-ambedkar-interview-dalits-muslims-will-not-vote-for-congress-even-if-disillusioned-with-modi-5574584/

Prakash Ambedkar interview: ‘Dalits, Muslims will not vote for Congress even if disillusioned with Modi’

The possibility of aligning with the Congress-NCP combine has been completely ruled out, says Prakash Ambedkar.

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Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh president Prakash Ambedkar. (Express Photo by Santosh Parab/Files)

The Prakash Ambedkar-led Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM) is making its first foray into politics, with a new front called the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi, an umbrella of smaller regional parties, including the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen. It has decided to contest all the 48 Lok Sabha seats

Is there a chance of the BBM being a part of the Congress-NCP alliance?

The possibility of aligning with the Congress-NCP combine has been completely ruled out. Meetings were held with the Congress leadership, but they are not willing to accommodate our agenda. I wanted to know what would be their action plan against the RSS if voted to power. We want the Congress to make a commitment that they will bring the functioning of the RSS within the ambit of the Constitution.

Are you seeking a ban on the RSS?

Not at all. A ban on any organisation is not a lasting solution. Our concern relates to allowing the RSS to run a parallel constitution…

Initially, you wanted an alliance with Congress-NCP and demanded 12 seats?

I had taken the initiative to bring together all secular forces. The 12 seats were not for my party. My idea was that we should have 12 candidates representing 12 OBC communities. But the Congress was not willing to accommodate our concerns.

So what’s your political plan?

Under the banner of the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi, we will contest all the 48 Lok Sabha seats. The BBM and AIMIM along with local outfits across the region will form a strong political coalition. Our approach is to win the (votes of the) oppressed sections across caste, community and religion.

Who is your real opponent? The Congress or the BJP?

Our battle is against both the parties. Why should we allow the Congress to take our people for granted in the name of secularism? Or why should we get carried away by the BJP’s nationalism? There is no question of supporting the BJP.

How will caste politics play out in Maharashtra?

I strongly believe that the Dalits and Muslims will not decisively vote for the Congress even if they are disillusioned with the Modi government… The traditional vote base of all mainstream alliances will be shaken in the elections. A lot of churning will take place.