`We've been working for dalits & OBCs' : Prakash Ambedkar

Times of India, 16th Sept. 2009

MUMBAI: Ambedkar's Bharatiya Republican Paksha Bahujan Mahasangha leader and grandson of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, Prakash Ambedkar is the only prominent politician who has chosen to distance himself from the move to unite all the RPI factions in the state to counter UP chief minister Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). He talks to TOI

Q. Why did you choose to not join the united RPI?
A. This is not for the first time that these groups have joined hands to form a united RPI in the state. But unfortunately, all these efforts have failed and people are now fed up with such superficial experiments. When the united RPI was formed, they promised to keep away from both the Congress-NCP and Shiv Sena-BJP alliances.

But one of the RPI representatives continued in the Congress-led Democratic Front. Such kind of unity does not last and affects polity in the state. Those who have joined the united RPI have no credibility. I would have lost the support base I have developed meticulously over the years.

Q. Do you think the Third Front will impact the coming elections?
A. I know the strength and weaknesses of the Third Front as I have worked with them. Unfortunately, no one has any experience in leading the masses. Indirectly, the Third Front will help the Congress in the coming assembly elections.

Q. Don't you think that the dalit population will be against you?
A. Not at all. Dalits, too, are aware of power politics.

Q. What are your plans for the coming assembly elections? How many seats will you be fighting?
A. The coming elections will see multi-corner fights in almost all assembly segments as there are many fronts and parties in the fray. We have not yet decided how many seats we will fight, but we have influence in many segments. The dalit population in Vidarbha is 22 per cent. I don't think the BSP is a threat. We have been working for the welfare of not only the dalits but other OBCs as well, and they are well aware of the political reality in Maharashtra.


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