Shivshakti-Bhimshakti: Will the state soon witness the Thackeray-Ambedkar alliance? | Bombay News
Mumbai: In what could prove to be a watershed moment in state politics, Prakash Ambedkar’s Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) and Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) are warming up to each other.
On November 20, Shiv Sena (UBT) Chairman Uddhav Thackeray and Prakash Ambedkar, who is the grandson of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar and former Lok Sabha MP, will share the dais during a website relaunch on ‘Prabodhankar’ Keshav Sitaram Thackeray, the social reformer and journalist, who was a doyen of the non-Brahmin movement in Maharashtra. Prabodhankar is Uddhav Thackeray’s grandfather.
The event, which also has political overtones due to the likely rainbow social and political alliance it could shape, will take place at the Shivaji Mandir in Dadar West.
Incidentally, Prabodhankar and Dr. Ambedkar collaborated in the cause of social reform. The two had teamed up in efforts like launching utsav Navratri in Mumbai in 1926 to counter the Brahmin-dominated utsav Ganesh. Prabodhankar had also assured Ambedkar’s support for the Samyukta Maharashtra struggle.
Prakash Ambedkar has confirmed that he will be present at the event. “(If the Shiv Sena) take the position taken by Prabodhankar Thackeray, then we have no problem following them,” he said.
In 2003, Uddhav Thackeray, who had just been appointed incumbent president of the Shiv Sena, and heir apparent to his father, Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray, reached out to Buddhist Dalits, especially those who supported the various factions of the Shiv Sena. the Republican Party of India (RPI). Incidentally, it was also during a ceremony to unveil Prabodhankar’s portrait at the University of Mumbai.
This ‘Shivshakti-Bhimshakti’ initiative was notable as the Shiv Sena had a bristling relationship with the Buddhist Dalits, who are the most militant section of the Dalit community. The Shiv Sena also had a significant presence of Hindu Dalits, who are socially and politically at odds with the Buddhist Dalits. The move met with some success.
A senior Shiv Sena (UBT) official has admitted that they are considering forming a social coalition with the VBA. “There is a chance that the VBA and the Shiv Sena will come together. This is more significant (than Shivshakti-Bhimshakti). Two grandsons get together,” the chef explained.
It is also an attempt to broaden the constituency base of the Shiv Sena and turn it into a pan-Maharashtra regional force in the proper sense.
Prakash Ambedkar has cross-sectional influence like other backwards and Muslims. Other RPI leaders have a base largely restricted to Buddhist Dalits, who are estimated to form 7% of the population.
In 2019, the VBA’s presence in the ring was blamed for the defeat of Congress and the NCP in the Lok Sabha polls.