Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM) leader Prakash Ambedkar accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of resorting to “blackmail” and “pressure tactics” to prevent Opposition parties from forging alliances with the Congress.
He further announced that he would dissolve the BBM and formally merge it with the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) after the conclusion of the Lok Sabha election.
Mr. Ambedkar hit out against Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani’s accusations against Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his sister, party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, over alleged corruption involving land deals.
“It is not that I am taking the Gandhis’ side, but why doesn’t the government investigate the matter in a constitutional manner instead of making such allegations just before polls. Pressurising seems to be the BJP’s new formula to win. Rifts are being engineered within families as scions of the Opposition parties are being promised BJP tickets. The BJP and the Sangh Parivar are creating such a situation to prevent other parties from allying with the Congress,” said Mr. Ambedkar, speaking in Akola.
“Sharad Pawar withdrawing his candidacy from the Lok Sabha seat, Sujay Vikhe-Patil (son of senior Congressman Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil) joining the BJP and Ranjitsinh Mohite-Patil (son of NCP MP Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil) meeting with BJP leaders was proof of the pressure upon Opposition parties by the BJP,” Mr. Ambedkar said.
He said he foresaw “a fascist government” at the Centre if the BJP managed to win the 2019 election.
The BBM chief’s remarks come after he recently ruled out an alliance with the Congress-NCP to form an anti-BJP block, announcing instead that the VBA would contest all 48 seats in Maharashtra in the Lok Sabha polls.
Mr. Ambedkar further said that the former BJP leader Nana Patole, who has been fielded by the Congress against senior BJP leader and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari in Nagpur, was nothing but a “dummy candidate.” “The Congress’ announcement of Mr. Patole’s candidacy is yet another instance of the RSS’ pressure tactics,” Mr. Ambedkar said, implying that the BJP’s pressure had forced the Congress to field a “weak” candidate against Mr. Gadkari.