Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Wednesday held a closed-door meeting with Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) president Prakash Ambedkar, triggering speculation about a possible political alliance between the two parties.
However, the VBA has denied any such possibility and claimed the meeting was regarding the construction of a memorial of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar at the now defunct Indu Mill in Mumbai, reported The Indian Express.
“The meeting was in connection with the construction of the memorial of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar at the now defunct Indu Mill. Balasaheb (Prakash Ambedkar) has been trying to get the memorial work expedited. He has taken a stand a world-class research centre should also be built in the same place. And, therefore, the meeting between the two leaders took place,” VBA spokesperson Siddharth Mokle said.
The Ambedkar-led party said that the discussion for an alliance with the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena was at its final stage, and there was no question of joining hands with the BJP.
“Balasaheb (Prakash Ambedkar) has made it clear at a press conference that the VBA will not join hands with the BJP at any cost. The VBA will also not join hands with any party which is in alliance with the BJP. Therefore, the question of holding a discussion about a tie does not arise,” Mokle said. He added that there is no truth about the speculations about the tie-up between the two parties.
Last month, Uddhav Thackeray and VBA had decided to contest Mumbai civic body elections jointly, and Uddhav Thackeray had kept his alliance partners – Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party – in the loop about the political developments.
Earlier in December, Prakash Ambedkar had met CM Shinde to discuss the project at Indu Mills. Ambedkar, the grandson of B R Ambedkar, later told the media that there was nothing political about the meeting.
Ambedkar had demanded the construction of a grand international study centre at the project site in Dadar to know the scholarly work of the “architect of the Indian Constitution”, along with a statue and an open park.