I doubt Congress wants to take BJP head-on, says VBA chief

'I have doubts whether the Congress wants to take on the BJP head-on,' Ambedkar tells DH's Mrityunjay Bose in a free-wheeling interview in Akola.
Last Updated : 16 April 2024, 23:11 IST
Last Updated : 16 April 2024, 23:11 IST

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Mumbai: Prakash Ambedkar has emerged as an important player and factor in Maharashtra politics. The 69-year-old Balasaheb, as he is popularly known, is the grandson of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. As the head of Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi, he has a presence in all 48 Lok Sabha seats and is a matter of concern for the ruling Maha Yuti and Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi. "I have doubts whether the Congress wants to take on the BJP head-on," Ambedkar tells DH's Mrityunjay Bose in a free-wheeling interview in Akola.

You are contesting from Akola once again. You have won twice from this seat and lost several times as well. How do you see the Lok Sabha poll campaign going?

First of all, I am not new to Akola. The anger of the people against the current regime is going to come out in the elections. The two main candidates against me are freshers (Congress' Abhay Patil and BJP's Anup Dhotre). The traditional Congress voters would vote for me. I am expecting to get 6 lakh votes. 

Your alliance with the MVA comprising Congress, UBT and SP did not take shape even though you shared dias with I.N.D.I.A bloc leaders.

I have my doubts whether the Congress wants to take the BJP head-on. As regards to Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Yatra and Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, the thing is clear. Either Congress keeps on working towards increasing its base or actively works towards dislodging the BJP by taking allies into confidence. Why did so many allies walk out before me? Surely there is a need for introspection by Congress. 

What is your perception about Rahul as a person and a politician?

Over the years there has been a change in him. But for sure, he needs to change his speech writers. The BJP picks up threads from there. To support what I say, I would refer to the Shivaji Park speech and mention of 'adrishya shakti'. Though Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge tried damage control, it was beyond control. The BJP-RSS strategy has always been communal and caste polarisation and they will not leave any chance.

The Congress in Maharashtra has been reduced to just one seat in 2019. Congress blames you the debacle.

That's a lie and a false perception. In fact, on the contrary, because of the Congress we lost in 13 places. The MVA has not nominated a single Muslim candidate yet. If the MVA has to exclude Muslims like the BJP then what is the difference between the two? Besides, why is the mainstream media silent on the exclusion of Muslims?

In the political discourse when we talk about Prime Minister Narendra Modi, there are discussions on democracy vs dictatorship. What is your take on it?

There is surely a concern and if there is a massive mandate in favour of the BJP, things can take a different course. Let me put it this way, people must listen to what Parakala Prabhakar has said, read about it. However, I feel that there would be a hung Lok Sabha.

Will the BJP make attempts to change the Constitution if it wins 400+ seats?

There is always that possibility. This is the pledge RSS took after the Constitution was adopted in 1950. They want to dictate terms and take away the freedom, dignity and right of freedom of religion and change the secular fabric of our nation.

In case of a fractured LS, what would be your role? Will you become a minister?

I will decide when the time comes. I don't want to be a minister. I don't want to be confined. I am a free man.

Published 16 April 2024, 23:11 IST

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