'Uniting to save democracy': Uddhav Thackeray's Sena announces alliance with Prakash Ambedkar's VBA
The Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray said his grandfather Prabodhankar Thackeray, and Prakash Ambedkar's grandfather, legendary social icon and jurist BR Ambedkar were contemporaries who admired each other and worked together to eradicate social evils and bad practises.
The Shiv Sena (UBT) and Prakash Ambedkar's Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi announced an alliance on Monday, January 23, 2023, on the occasion of the 97th birth anniversary of Shiv Sena founder late Bal Thackeray.
While talking at a joint press conference, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said his grandfather Keshav Thackeray, also known as Prabodhankar Thackeray, and Prakash Ambedkar's grandfather, legendary social icon and jurist B R Ambedkar were contemporaries who admired each other and worked together to eradicate social evils and bad practises.
"There are some bad practices in politics now, and to eradicate them, the heirs of these two leaders and those around them have teamed together to protect the country's interests. We are uniting together to keep democracy alive," claimed Thackeray.
Thackeray said the country is heading towards autocracy without mentioning the Bharatiya Janata Party, which currently rules Maharashtra and the Centre.
Thackeray challenged the current powers to hold Maharashtra Assembly elections at the earliest. The state is being ruled by a faction of the Sena that broke away in June 2022, and the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Thackeray group have routinely called it a dispensation of 'traitors.'
Prakash Ambedkar, on the alliance with Sena (UBT), said that the VBA and Shiv Sena (UBT) teaming together was the beginning of the politics of change.
The Shiv Sena (UBT) and the VBA have been in talks for several months, with Ambedkar saying it was up to Thackeray to make the formal announcement.
Ambedkar also said that the alliance is currently between the Shiv Sena (UBT) and the VBA, but he hopes that other Maha Vikas Aghadi constituents (the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party) will join soon.
Thackeray said he had not seen any opposition to including VBA in the MVA from Congress or the NCP.
Last month, the People's Republican Party (PRP) led by Jogendra Kawade, which has a strong following among Dalits in the state, joined forces with Chief Minister Eknath Shinde's Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena.
The BJP, a partner in Shinde's government, is allied with Ramdas Athawale's Republican Party of India (A).
(With inputs from PTI)