Going by the huge gatherings and media coverage, one has to assume that Prakash Ambedkar and Asaduddin Owaisi’s alliance has taken Maharashtra’s politics by storm. Otherwise, Loksabha elections in Maharashtra would have been a routine, straightforward contest between BJP-Shiv Sena and Congress-Nationalist Congress Party alliance. Ambedkar-Owaisi’s Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) has challenged the traditional political equations in the state. Whether it remains a storm in a tea cup or becomes a real hurricane remains to be seen.
Today, Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of Babasaheb Ambedkar, is the most credible face in the fragmented dalit movement in Maharashtra. His rose to limelight in December 2017, after promoting the historic ‘Elgar Yatra’, along with former justices P B Sawant and B G Kolsepatil, to commemorate bi-centenary of historic Bhima Koregaon battle. The Yatra concluded at Pune’s Shaniwar Wada. A dalit gathering at the Brahminical prestige possession was too much for a section of Puneites. Hindutva radicals tried to instigate their supporters against this Yatra by dubbing them Maoists.