In Maharashtra, will the OBC’s back Ambedkar or BJP
Mumbai, Mar 21: In Maharashtra the OBCs comprise over 250 castes and sub-castes. Their population accounts for nearly 52 per cent of the population and in the elections they can be a game changer.
Eyeing a large chunk of these votes is Prakash Ambedkar, who heads the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi, which will fight in all 48 seats in the state for the Lok Sabha elections. The party entered into a tie up with the AIMM and now the target clearly are the OBC, SC,ST and Muslim votes.
Ambedkar says with the AIMM they have a combined vote bank of 40 per cent. This figure was arrived at on the basis of the crowds their rallies have drawn.
The question is who will the Ambedkar-Owaisi combine hurt more. Ambedkar says that the OBCs will not vote for the Congress-NCP. He said that the very fact that Sharad Pawar decided not to contest the Madha seat is a clear indication of this fact.
However many believe that Ambedkar would have benefited more had he tied up with the Congress and NCP. He has won an election twice with the help of the Congress, but lost four when he did not have the support.
On the other hand the OBCs are considered to be closer to the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance. They identify the Congress-NCP as Maratha led parties. The BJP says that the OBCs will back them during this election as well. The government has extended several welfare measures to them.
In the 2014 election, the BJP had won 122 assembly seats and in 23 Lok Sabha segments. The OBC representation was at 40 per cent, which is the highest ever.