This Article is From Jan 23, 2023

"Inheritors Of These Two Leaders...": New Thackeray-Ambedkar Alliance

Prakash Ambedkar said the Congress is yet to join the alliance. He said he hoped Sharad Pawar's NCP comes on board

'Inheritors Of These Two Leaders...': New Thackeray-Ambedkar Alliance

Uddhav Thackeray was in talks for over two months with Prakash Ambedkar

Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray today announced an alliance with Prakash Ambedkar's Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) as he preps for the upcoming Mumbai civic polls, the first major election since his Shiv Sena split last year, bringing down his government.

Uddhav Thackeray has been in talks for over two months with Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of Bhim Rao Ambedkar, who drafted India's Constitution.

"Today is 23rd January, the birth anniversary of Balasaheb Thackeray. I am satisfied and happy that several people of Maharashtra wanted us to come together. Prakash Ambedkar and I am here today to form an alliance," Mr Thackeray told reporters.

"My grandfather and Prakash Ambedkar's grandfather were colleagues and they fought against the social issues at that time. Thackeray and Ambedkar have a history. Now their future generations are here to fight on the current issues of the country," he added.

The alliance will take on the ruling Eknath Shinde-led Sena and BJP combine in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) election.

Mr Thackeray and Mr Ambedkar shared a stage last in November for the launch of, a website dedicated to Shiv Sena Founder Bal Thackeray's father Prabodhankar Thackeray.

Mr Ambedkar said the alliance marks the "beginning of new politics" in the country. "We have been organising protests on social issues. Whether we win on social issues or not is in the hands of voters, but giving such people a seat to contest is in the hands of the political parties," he said.

Uddhav Thackeray's allies, the Congress and Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), may not be on board with the tie-up. Sharad Pawar said he did not want to get into the "alliance issue".

Mr Ambedkar said the Congress "has not accepted the alliance yet".

"As of now, it's only the two of us. Congress hasn't accepted the alliance yet. I hope Sharad Pawar will also join the alliance," Mr Ambedkar added.

Mr Ambedkar had tried to form an alliance with the Congress and NCP for the 2019 national election but their talks failed over differences on seat-sharing.

Mr Ambedkar founded the VBA in 2018 with Asaduddin Owaisi's AIMIM and contested the 2019 general election. The alliance didn't win any seat but won 14 per cent of the votes, denting the Congress in seven seats. In the Maharashtra election later that year, the Congress claimed that Mr Ambedkar's coalition cost the party at least 25 seats.

Mr Ambedkar last week said Mr Thackeray wants all MVA allies to be part of the alliance. "(Uddhav Thackeray) wants the other parties in the Maha Vikas Aghadi to be in an alliance. His efforts for the same are on," he said.

"I don't have faith in the Congress. They are focusing on the 2029 (Lok Sabha) elections. Earlier, I had demanded 12 seats where the Congress had been losing polls continuously, but they didn't give those," Mr Ambedkar said.

"There are differences between the alliance partners of the MVA. They will be more visible after 10 days," he added.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) lost power in June after a coup led by his former aide, Eknath Shinde, who went on to form a new government with the BJP. The Congress and NCP continued their alliance with Uddhav Thackeray's faction.

The Shiv Sena has been in power at the BMC for 25 years but now, two rival Sena factions will fight each other. Recently, the Shinde Sena announced a tie-up with a faction of the Republican Party of India (RPI). Another faction of the RPI, led by Union minister Ramdas Athawale, is an ally of the BJP.