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VBA to support Sule in Baramati, won’t field own candidate | Mumbai News

Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) president Prakash Ambedkar on Wednesday pledged support to Supriya Sule, the NCP (SP) candidate in Baramati for LS elections.

In Baramati, the stage is thereupon set for a straight fight between Supriya Sule, the daughter of NCP (SP) chief Sharad Pawar, and Sunetra Pawar of NCP led by Dy CM Ajit Pawar, who is her husband and Sule’s cousin.

Prakash Ambedkar said, “We no longer have any alliance with Maha Vikas Aghadi. They are still mired in an ugly row amongst themselves. VBA will contest alone, but in a select few seats, we will support Congress and NCP (SP)”.

VBA’s decision to support Sule has taken many within mainstream parties. A political expert, who has kept an eye on Ambedkar’s politics, said, “Prakash Ambedkar works without weighing loss and gain. He pursues his own individual path.”

Interestingly, Ambedkar had also offered to support Congress candidates in seven key Lok Sabha seats in the state, but Congress leadership has yet to respond to his proposal.

Festive offer

Three-term MP Supriya Sule has for the first time found herself contesting elections against a family member. What has compounded the crisis is the battle between two NCP factions on the family turf of Baramati, which has been an identity and emotional connection for the entire Pawar parivar.

In 2019 LS elections, VBA fielded Navnath Padalkar who bagged 44,134 (3.38 per cent) votes, while Sule, who won Baramati, got 6.86 lakh votes (52.63 per cent), and her nearest rival, BJP’s Kanchan Kul, won 5.30 lakh votes (40.69 per cent).

In the 2014 general election, BJP did not field any candidate against Sule. The contest was between undivided NCP leader Sule versus Rashtriya Samaj Party chief Mahadev Jankar. To everybody’s surprise, Jankar got 4.51 lakh (42.35 per cent) votes, while Sule with 5.21 lakh (48.88 per cent) votes won the seat by a reduced margin.

In the 2009 election, when Supriya Sule was pitched against BJP’s Kanta Nalawade, BJP knew it was going to be a cakewalk for Sule, who won 4.87 lakh votes (66.46 per cent). Her adversaries — Nalawade was restricted to 1.50 lakh votes (20.57 per cent), and BSP’s Vivek Patil got 29,864 votes (4.67 per cent).

Voting for the Baramati seat will take place on May 13 in Phase 4. The votes will be counted on June 4 along with all LS seats across the country.

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