The All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen on Friday called off talks with Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) led by Prakash Ambedkar after the latter left it just eight seats for upcoming polls to the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly. The VBA, however, in a statement later in the evening said they were unaware of this development, claiming "the VBA-AIMIM alliance exists".
AIMIM's Maharashtra unit chief and Aurangabad Lok Sabha MP Imtiyaz Jaleel, in a statement, said the two parties could not reach a "comfortable and respectable figure" of seat distribution despite talks lasting for nearly two months.
The AIMIM-VBA alliance had done well in the April-May Lok Sabha polls in terms of votes received, though Jaleel was the only contestant who managed to win his seat. The VBA conveyed it could leave only eight out of the 288 Assembly seats to the AIMIM, he said. "This is simply unacceptable and unjustified as the list does not include Aurangabad Central seat," he said.
Incidentally Jaleel was sitting MLA from Aurangabad Central seat before winning the Lok Sabha polls from that city. "Our party leader Gaffar Qadri also had a series of meetings with Balasaheb (Ambedkar), the last one on September 5 in Pune, and he too has been told by Balasaheb and his Parliamentary board member Annarao Patil about the decision. Balasaheb has sent an email to AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi that he would give eight seats to the AIMIM," Jaleel said.
Meanwhile, a VBA statement said "preliminary talks" were underway on a list of 17 seats sent by Owaisi. "We haven’t got any communication from Owaisi regarding calling off the alliance. Hence, we consider that the VBA-AIMIM alliance exists," the statement added.
Jaleel said the AIMIM had contested 24 seats in the 2014 state polls and had managed to win two (Aurangabad Central and Byculla) and had come second or third in nine seats.
"Today our party has about 150 corporators, councillors across Maharashtra from different castes and communities. In Aurangabad Municipal Corporation where we have 26 corporators, our leader of opposition and the group leader in AMC are both from the SC category," Jaleel said.
"Irrespective of our alliance not taking place, we are committed and will continue to take up issues of the oppressed classes from the weaker sections of the society,"he said.
The VBA-AIMIM had managed to hurt the Congress-NCP in several seats in the Lok Sabha polls, prompting the opposition combine to call the former the “B team” of the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena.