Congress to hold alliance talks with VBA

The Asian Age.

Metros, Mumbai

Now, the Congress has sought time for a meeting and will send a letter to the VBA, said a source in the party.

State Congress president Balasaheb Thorat

Mumbai: State Congress president Balasaheb Thorat Wednesday said that the party had decided to hold alliance talks with Vanchit Bahujan Agadhi (VBA) leader Prakash Ambedkar. Mr Thorat said that all secular parties should come together to take on communal parties.

Earlier, the Congress had written a letter to the VBA for talks about an alliance. The VBA had replied positively to the Congress. Now, the Congress has sought time for a meeting and will send a letter to the VBA, said a source in the party.

Mr Thorat said that they had admitted that owing to division of votes, damage had been done in the Lok Sabha elections (by VBA). “We have sought a time from him for the meeting,” he added.

The VBA is an alliance forged between the Prakash Ambedkar-led Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh and Assaddudin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) just ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. The VBA had contested all 48 seats and damaged the chances of the Congress and NCP to 10 seats where they polled over one lakh votes.

The Congress held a review meeting over seat-sharing with the NCP Wednesday. The source said that Mr Ambedkar had responded “positively” to a letter inviting him for talks with Congress and NCP leaders for the state polls.

The source also claimed that Mr Ambedkar wanted the Congress to clear the perception that his faction was the BJP's “B team”, as alleged by the Congress and NCP during the Lok Sabha poll campaign in April.

A senior Congress leader said that if the VBA joined hands with the Opposition parties, there was no question of calling his party the B-team of the BJP.

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