With an eye on BMC elections, the Chief Minister Mr Eknath Shinde on Wednesday met the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi founder and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s grandson Mr Prakash Ambedkar.
Although Mr Shinde said it was a visit to pay tribute to Dr Ambedkar and visit his house and memorial the Rajgruha situated at Hindu Colony of Dadar in Mumbai.
Mr Shinde clarified that it was a courtesy visit and asked the media not to bring politics into it.
However, it was clearly aimed at giving an offer to Mr Ambedkar to be partner so that the Shiv Shakti Bhim Shakti will be reality in the run up to the BMC elections. Timing of Mr Shinde’s visit to Mr Ambedkar’s house is crucial especially when backchannel talks between the VBA and Shiv Sena Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray has led to speculation that the two parties may join forces, a move that will give the Thackeray-led Shiv Sena faction a boost, and expand its voter base.
The meeting is also important as there has been no formal confirmation either from Shiv UBT chief Mr Uddhav Thackeray or from Mr Ambedkar about the alliance offer and its present status. Mr Shinde chose to take the lead while there has been no movement from Shiv Sena UBT.
VBA founder Prakash Ambedkar hints at tie-up with Shiv Sena in Maharashtra
If Mr Shinde, succeeds in stitching an alliance with Mr Ambedkar, it will help him to consolidate his position in the run up to the BMC elections and thereafter too. So far, Shinde camp has been unable to lure a large number of former corportors and office bearers from the Thackeray camp but his alliance may give a signal for those who are waiting in the wings to make a decision to jump ship.
As far as Mr Ambedkar is concerned, the VBA will get an opportunity to spread its wings in Mumbai. A senior leader from the Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena told the Free Press Journal, ‘’Shinde led party and BJP will together fight the BMC elections. The entry of Mr Ambedkar will make the alliance stronger. However, the final call on alliance will be decided by top leaders, it will be too early to give clear picture at this stage.’’
Earlier, Mr Shinde reviewed the present status of the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Memorial being developed at Indu Mill, Dadar.
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