Mumbai: A senior leader of the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) on Sunday said that the July 3 meeting between senior Congress leaders Manikrao Thakre, Harshavardhan Patil and Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM) chief Prakash Ambedkar will not discuss the possibility of an alliance in the upcoming Assembly election. The senior leader, who requested anonymity, said that a committee formed for developing the election strategy would take the final call on the matter.
The VBA, which includes the Hyderabad-based All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) and the Dalit-centric BBM, had formed a committee last week to finalise the poll strategy in the upcoming state election.
The Congress high command had decided to forge an alliance with the VBA after meeting leaders from the Maharashtra unit on Saturday. The meeting, which took place in New Delhi, was attended by senior leaders Prithviraj Chavan, Ashok Chavan, and Manikrao Thakre.
“In order to consolidate the secular votes in the Assembly election, we are trying to forge an alliance with the VBA. In this connection, Mr Thakre and Mr Patil are going to meet Prakash Ambedkar on July 3,” Leader of Opposition in the legislative Assembly, Vijay Wadettiwar said.
The VBA was formed ahead of the Lok Sabha election. In the recently-concluded election, the alliance bagged nearly 14 per cent of the votes in Mahrashtra.
While the alliance could win only one seat, it played spoilsport in many of the constituencies where Congress and NCP candidates could have won.
The AIMIM candidate in Aurangabad, Imtiaz Jaleel, defeated veteran Sena leader Chandrakant Khaire. Jaleel, a television journalist-turned-politician, had previously won a seat in the 2014 Assembly election.
While the Congress-NCP alliance could only win 5 seats in the state, the ruling Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 41 seats.
The state of Maharashtra goes to poll in October. In the last election, all the four parties had contested the election separately, with the BJP emerging as the largest party.