Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Discord In MVA Over Seat-Sharing

With less than a month until the first phase of the Lok Sabha Elections, the tug-of-war continues over seat sharing within the opposition MVA. Amid talks of seat negotiations, Shiv Sena UBT leader Sanjay Raut on Wednesday, which is also the last day of filing nominations for the first phase of Lok Sabha elections, tweeted a list written on a paper with Shiv Sena UBT letterhead on it.

 “With the blessings of Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray and the order of Shiv Sena party chief Mr Uddhavji Thackeray, the list of 17 Shiv Sena Lok Sabha candidates is being announced.

Shri Anil Desai will be contesting from Mumbai South Central, and the names of the other 16 candidates are as follows.” The tweet read.

The list included the Sangli seat, which the Congress held from 1962 till 2014. During the Modi wave, BJP candidate Sanjaykaka Patil, the incumbent MP, won the seat. The Mumbai North West Lok Sabha seat has been given to Shinde Sena MP Gajanan Kirtikar’s son Amol Kirtikar, a seat Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam was seeking. The Mumbai South Central seat, which was not included in the list but in Mr Raut’s tweet, is also a seat that the Congress was eying.

Soon after this announcement, Congress legislative party leader Balasaheb Thorat, reacting to the list, expressed displeasure and said: “When discussions are going on in some places as Mahavikas Aghadi, it is the responsibility of all to follow the alliance Dharma.

“Uddhavji announced the list of Shiv Sena candidates today. In which the candidates of the seats in Sangli and Mumbai where discussions were going on were also announced. While we are in discussion with reference to the pending seats, it is not appropriate to announce candidates from those seats even though Congress has a strong demand for those seats, which has not yet been resolved.” The Congress leader further said that time has not yet passed, and Shiv Sena should reconsider these seats.

Besides, in another jolt to the MVA, Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Ambedkar has severed ties with the MVA, announcing that the party will go solo in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections and announcing 8 candidates. Prakash Ambedkar will be contesting from the Akola seat he held earlier.

The Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi had earlier extended its support to Shahu Chhatrapati, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s descendant and the Congress candidate for the Kolhapur Lok Sabha seat.
 And today, to Vikas Thakre, the Congress candidate in Nagpur, Prakash Shendage of the OBC Bahujan Party from Sangli, if he contests.
This clearly indicates that Ambedkar had issues with the UBT, which had forged an alliance with it in January 2023 but is comfortable with the Congress, which it had once alleged was not responding to its proposal of including his outfit in the INDIA bloc.
 Ambedkar claims that his candidates have the support of Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange Patil. Ambedkar further said the VBA will join hands with Patil and the OBC Federation to form a new social alliance.
 The VBA had played spoilsport for UPA candidates in Nanded, Solapur, Beed, Parbhani and Sangli seats, to name a few, in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, which ultimately helped the NDA.
Interestingly, in 2019, after the VBA’s demands were not met, Ambedkar ended talks with Congress—NCP and later allied with the AIMIM. The AIMIM fielded candidates in 47 seats, leaving one seat for the ally. The VBA lost all seats, and the AIMIM won the 1 seat it contested.
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