Months after being ousted as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) chief Uddhav Thackeray today announced his party’s alliance with Vanchit Bahujan Aaghadi or VBA lead by Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of B. R. Ambedkar.
“We have come together to keep the Constitution intact,” Uddhav Thackeray said while addressing a press conference where he shared the stage with Prakash Ambedkar.
Uddhav’s Maha Vikas Aghadi government was replaced by the rebel Sena faction led by Eknath Shine in June.
Speaking about the MVA coalition, Prakash Ambedkar said he hopes the Congress and NCP will accept his VBA party as an ally as well. Ambedkar also attacked the BJP government over misusing central agencies like ED and said regional parties will be supported.
Uddhav responded to Ambedkar’s statement and assured the VBA chief that his party would be accepted whole heartedly. “When we realized there was politics of deception, we came together with Congress, NCP. None of them have any problems with you coming with us. We have decided, we will take care of our own alliance partners. You will be a part of the MVA,” Uddhav said.
The big announcement comes ahead of crucial civic polls in Mumbai city.
The Shiv Sena has been ruling the Mumbai civic body for almost 30 years. In the 2017 BMC polls, the Shiv Sena won 84 seats, its lowest tally in the 227-member civic body in two decades, while the BJP considerably improved its tally and bagged 82 seats. Currently, the BMC is run by an administrator as the five-year term of the civic body had ended and elections are awaited.
The Shinde faction — now called Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena (BSS) — claims it is the ‘real’ Shiv Sena due to its numerical strength. The Thackeray camp — Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) — denies these claims, accusing the rebels of disobeying the party’s whip.
The two sides have locked in a legal battle over their claim to the party name and symbol. The Supreme Court will hear their pleas again from February 14 and the Election Commission (EC). will resume hearing their pleas on January 30.