The Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA), fighting its first ever election, has delivered a jolt to existing parties in Maharashtra, grabbing well over 40 lakh votes in Maharashtra in Lok Sabha polls.
Though the party may not have won seats except Aurangabad where its alliance partner AIMIM’s candidate Imtiaz Jaleel defeated Shiv Sena strongman and four-time MP Chandrakant Khaire, the fact remains that VBA has got more than 40 lakh votes and has left an imprint in almost all the seats of the state.
With the party getting more than 1 lakh votes each in 12 constituencies, it has signalled its arrival in a big way, causing flutter within the major parties particularly Congress and NCP.
In the Assembly elections slated later in the year, the party is expected to make an impact, also because the Assembly seats are much smaller and voter consolidation has a greater impact unlike in Lok Sabha constituencies that have 15 lakh-20 lakh voters.
Here are is the analysis and examples to understand the criticality of VBA’s performance in its first election:
In Parbhani, Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Jadhav defeated rival NCP’s candidate Rajesh Vitekar by a margin of 42,000 votes. However, VBA’s Alamgir Khan secured 1.50 lakh votes. The local NCP leaders feel that VBA’s presence led to its defeat. Similarly, in a high-profile contest at Nanded, former CM Ashok Chavan got 4.46 lakh votes and lost to BJP candidate Pratap Chikhalikar by just 40,000 votes. Here too VBA’s Yashpal Bhinge got 1.66 lakh votes. The loss in Nanded came as a big blow for Congress.
Take the case of Sangli seat where BJP’s Sanjaykaka Patil (5.08 lakh) defeated Swambhimani Paksh candidate Vishal Patil (3.44 lakh), but here VBA’s Gopichand Padalkar got a staggering 3 lakh votes. In Solapur, VBA chief Prakash Ambedkar contested and lost but he got 1.70 lakh votes. Congress leaders feel that former CM Sushil Shinde lost to BJP’s Siddheswhar Swami in Solapur because of votes polled by Ambedkar as the BJP’s victory margin is less than VBA’s votes.
Similarly, in Buldhana, VBA candidate got over 1.72 lakh votes and NCP leaders say that they lost to Shiv Sena because of this huge vote share taken away by the new party. Yet another example is Akola, another seat where Prakash Ambedkar contested, he came second and got 2.78 lakh votes. BJP polled 5.54 lakh votes while INC got relegated to third spot with 2.54 lakh votes.
Raju Shetti’s (Swabhimani Paksha) loss in Hatkanangle could be attributed to VBA, as its candidate Aslam Sayyad got 1.23 lakh votes. Shetti got 4.89 lakh votes but lost to Shiv Sena candidate Dhariyasheel Mane by a margin of 96,000 votes. Even in Gadhchiroli and Amravati, VBA’s performance was outstanding. Its candidates got over 1.11 lakh votes in the former and 65,000 in these places respectively.
Chandrapur is the only seat INC managed to win but VBA gave it a scare. Here BJP’s Hansraj Ahir lost by just 45,000 votes to INC’s Suresh Dhanorkar while VBA’s Advocate Rajendra Mahadole got 1.12 lakh votes. In Hingoli, VBA candidate came third but secured 1.74 lakh votes.
There are many other seats where VBA performed well e.g. Latur and Nashik, where its candidates got over 1 lakh votes. In Osmanabad it got 98,000 votes, Yavatmal 94,000 and Raver 88,000 votes. In eight other constituencies it got 50,000 to 75,000 votes. Besides, on most other seats it managed to get enough votes to reach the third spot.
Political watchers feel that in Lok Sabha polls Modi’s personality cult was a big factor but in Assembly polls, VBA could pose an even more serious challenge to the other parties. It has succeeded in getting support from sections of Backward Castes, Dalits and Minorities.
After a good show in its electoral debut, VBA-AIMIM can get more voters switch to it and the Ambedkar-Owaisi combine may be able to convince their supporters that it is a formidable option in Maharashtra politics. No wonder, Congress-NCP alliance wants an understanding with the VBA for the Assembly elections next year. Clearly, interesting times ahead in the state politics in Maharashtra.