Till the fourth round, numbers showed BJP at 35,000, BVA at 30,000, Shiv Sena at 26,000, Congress at 9,000 and others at 12,131. Curiosity has grown around this party that is giving a tough fight to BJP in Maharashtra.
The party was earlier known as Vasai Vikas Aghadi. The primary support base for the party is the Vadaval community that was led by Hitendra Thakur, a former Independent candidate and current member of the Maharashtra legislative Assembly.
Baliram Sukur Jadhav of the BVA, backed by Hitendra Thakur, was elected to the 15th Lok Sabha in 2009 and declared unconditional support to the UPA government.
But is this the first shot at success for the political party? Perhaps not. During the 15th Lok Sabha Elections, Bahujan Vikas Aaghadi won the Palghar seat and Baliram Jadhav became the first member of parliament from the party.
However, the party lost to BJP’s Chintaman Vanga during the 2016 elections. However in Assembly elections held the same year, when Shiv Sena and BJP contested separately, BJP won two, Shiv Sena one and BVA three.
Palghar is located in the north of Mumbai and it’s the Scheduled Tribes that form the bulk of the party’s support base.
They also have the support of Marathis and Christians. Hitendra, who started the party, is the brother of former Dawood Ibrahim aide, Bhai Thakur.
Reserved for the Scheduled Tribe (ST) candidates, the Palghar constituency was formed after the 2008 delimitation. It has a diverse social composition, including tribals, North Indians, Marathi-speakers, Gujarati and Marwari trade communities, and Christians in its 1.5 million-plus electorate.
The elections have also got interesting after Shiv Sena pitched in Shriniwas Wanaga, the son of late BJP MP Chinaman Vanga, making it clear that their sole purpose in the elections is to defeat BJP.
The Shiv Sena by all means would accomplish much more by pushing BJP to the third spot even if that means having BVA win Palghar.
In 2016, Thakur of BVA demanded use of Urdu at public places across Maharashtra.
A delegation led by BVA Nalasopara MLA Kshitij Thakur and the then state minority President Ajaz Khatib met chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and minority minister Eknath Khadse.
They demanded that along with Marathi, Urdu also be made compulsory at public places in the state.