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Shiv Sena and Prakash Ambedkar’s VBA join hands

Describing it as “naya rasta and naya rishta,” the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena and Prakash Ambedkar’s Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi Monday finally announced their alliance after months of to and fro and also made it clear the VBA will be part of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA).

Thackeray said they have kept the other members of the alliance, Congress and the National Congress Party, in the loop about this and that they have no problem.

“The Shiv Sena and Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi have decided to come together. The future political roadmap will be decided on the situation that prevails at that particular moment,” said Thackeray at a joint press conference he held with Prakash Ambedkar in Mumbai on the occasion of Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray’s birth anniversary.

“We have embarked on a naya rasta and naya rishta (a new road and a new relationship),” said both leaders as they announced the alliance ahead of the civic elections in Mumbai as well as several other civic bodies.

Calling it a historical event, Thackeray said, “Today a dream has been fulfilled and the people of Maharashtra were eagerly waiting for this alliance. The names Thackeray and Ambedkar have a history. Both Prakash Ambedkar’s grandfather Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and my grandfather Prabodhankar Thackeray worked to eradicate the evil practices and tendencies of society. Even today some bad customs are present in the country and the politics. To eradicate those evil forces, the inheritors of these two families and the people around them have come together. We have come to protect the country and the democracy of the country.”

Ambedkar also said the Sena’s Hindutva is acceptable to the VBA. “We accept the Hindutva that Prabodhankar Thackeray has laid out. The Enlighteners formulated Hinduism from the perspective of reforming the social system. Also, we accept his Hindutva which unites all the society. The Shiv Sena is a party based on Balasaheb’s ideas and Hindutva.”

Ambedkar also said the alliance is between the Shiv Sena (UBT) and the VBA for the moment, but he hoped the Congress and the NCP also join in. To which, Thackeray said he has not seen any opposition from the Congress and NCP to the inclusion of the VBA in the MVA and he shouldn’t be worried about it.

While the Congress party said it has no problem with a like-minded party joining the MBA fold, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said Sunday he does not want to get into the issue of the alliance and Ajit Pawar will speak about it.

Stating he hopes Pawar will also come along, Ambedkar said, “I have read the reaction of Sharad Pawar. There is nothing new in it. Our feud is very old. It is not about farming it is about leadership… I am hoping that he will join hands with us because I look at this battle with a different perspective”.

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