Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut on Monday said that the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) has not lost hope in Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) chief Prakash Ambedkar, days after the latter called off the tie-up with the Uddhav Thackeray-led party in Maharashtra, ahead of the Lok Sabha elections 2023, the PTI reported.

According to the PTI, Sanjay Raut claimed public support is with MVA whose electoral victory would have been grand had VBA come along.

Talking to reporters, Raut said Ambedkar should have accepted MVA`s proposal of four seats for Lok Sabha elections, but the Opposition camp has not lost hopes on the VBA.

“There is public support for MVA. Our victory would have been grand had Balasaheb (Prakash) Ambedkar been with us. But this does not mean we are dependent on them,” he said, as per the PTI.

Noting that Ambedkar is a respectable leader with a good party organisation, Sanjay Raut said MVA leaders held discussions and kept requesting him.

“He should have accepted the (MVA) proposal. But we still have not lost hope on him,” he added, the news agency reported on Monday.

Prakash Ambedkar had on Saturday said he was calling off the alliance with Shiv Sena (UBT) and would declare his next move on March 26.

“I am giving back their four seats,” he said on Monday.

Contesting the MVA`s claim, the Dalit leader said VBA was officially offered only three seats including Akola.

Prakash Ambedkar had virtually blamed Uddhav Thackeray for the break down of the 14-month-old alliance.

“I had asked Uddhav Thackeray that Shiv Sena (UBT) and VBA should first sit together and chalk out strategy for a joint political path, but that didn`t happen. The VBA alliance with Sena (UBT) doesn`t exist any longer,” he had said, the PTI had reported.

Prakash Ambedkar had also claimed that the internal strife in MVA allies- Shiv Sena (UBT), NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar), and Congress- doesn`t seem to end.

The VBA had affected the prospects of UPA candidates in Nanded, Solapur, Hatkanangale, Beed, Parbhani and Sangli seats, to name a few, in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, which ultimately helped NDA.

(with PTI inputs)

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