Senior Scheduled Caste leader and former Lok Sabha MP Prakash Ambedkar and the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) led by the Owaisi brothers are exploring the possibility of a tie-up for the Lok Sabha polls.
Ambedkar, who is the grandson of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, told DNA that they had offered an to the AIMIM. Ambedkar, who heads the Bharatiya Republican Paksha-Bahujan Mahasangh (BRP-BMS) is working on forming the ‘Bahujan Vanchit Aghadi’ of Ambedkarite, Left, and Left-of-Centre parties in Maharashtra. The AIMIM, which is headed by Lok Sabha Asaduddin Owaisi and MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi from Hyderabad, enjoys the support of the Muslim community.
“There is a possibility of an electoral understanding or a pre-poll alliance,” Ambedkar said, adding that he had made an offer to the AIMIM. Unlike most leaders of the Republican Party of India (RPI) factions who have a base in the Buddhist scheduled castes, who constitute around eight per cent of the around 14 per cent Dalit population, Ambedkar has tried to reach out to a larger ‘Bahujan’ constituency including OBC groups.
Imtiaz Jaleel, AIMIM MLA from Aurangabad, said party chief Asaduddin Owaisi was likely to meet Ambedkar in Mumbai soon. “Muslims and Dalits have always been cheated and treated as a vote-bank. If the two join hands, they will be a force to reckon with,” he added.
This is not the first time that a coalition between the scheduled castes and Muslims, who come from the same social and economic category, has been attempted. In the 1980s, RPI leader Jogendra Kawade had joined alleged smuggler Haji Mastan Mirza to form the Dalit Muslim Suraksha Mahasangh. The Bahujan Mukti Party (BMP) supported by Waman Meshram’s All India Backward (SC, ST, OBC) and Minority Communities Employees’ Federation (BAMCEF) faction, had tried to field German Bakery blasts accused Mirza Himayat Beg from Aurangabad in the Lok Sabha polls.