Mumbai, March 23 (IANS) A 56-party strong 'Mahagathbandhan' (grand alliance) finalised in Maharashtra on Saturday, is all set to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena-led ruling alliance in the Lok Sabha elections due in April-May.
The two biggest partners in the 'grand alliance' - Congress and Nationalist Congress Party - have decided to accommodate some of the smaller partners by keepijng four seats from their respective quotas, out of the total 48 constituencies in the state.
The parties which are expected to fight the elections under the banner of 'United Progressive Grand Alliance' are: two seats for Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS), and one each for Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA) and Yuva Swabhimani Party (YSP).
In contrast, the ruling BJP-Sena alliance has given a short shrift to all its smaller allies by dividing the 48 seats among themselves in the ratio of 25:23, sparking resentment, especially in the Republican Party of India (A) led by Union Minister for Social Welfare Ramdas Athawale.
Launching a scathing tirade, state Congress President Ashok Chavan and former chief minister, said that many other parties were keen to join the UPGA, but were prevented by the politics of 'Saam, Daam, Dand, Bhed' (by any means) pursued by the BJP.
He accused the BJP of using divisive politics in its attempt to divide the secular votes vis-A-vis their communal politics, but the 'Mahagathbandhan' would ensure unity and justice for all sections of society including farmers, minorities, Dalits, SC/ST, women, workers and the youth, he added.
"This (BJP-Sena) government has made false assurances, announcements and promises which remained unfulfilled in the past five years, thus committing a fraud on the peoples' trust. The people will not forget or forgive and teach them a lesson in the next elections," Chavan said.
State NCP President Jayant Patil charged Prime Minister Narendra Modi with indulging in hypocrisy by quietly sending wishes to Pakistan PM, and attacked the government on various other major issues where it had failed.
"This 'Mahagathbandhan' will free the people of the country who are tired of the promises of 'achhe din' made by Modi," Patil said.
Former Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said there were huge hurdles in forming the 'grand alliance' with efforts thwarted at every stage, but everything was overcome.
"Those who didn't join the UPGA are the 'Team B' of the BJP-Sena," he said without naming Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi led by Prakash Ambedkar and the Owaisi brothers which is planning to contest all 48 seats.
"Nearly 25 per cent of the candidates of the BJP-Sena are imported from other parties. If everything is going smoothly in the BJP, why do they have to take outsiders? Is it their disruptive politics at play?" he asked.
Other speakers lashed out at the BJP for betraying the farmers, the youth, students and commoners on all fronts, unleashing unemployment and inflation, under the "dictatorial" style of functioning by Modi.
Besides the leaders of all the 56 parties in the Mahagathbandhan, several prominent leaders included former Congress minister Naseem Khan, NCP's former Deputy CM Chhagan Bhujbal, Jitendra Awhad, SSS's Raju Shetti, BVA's Hitendra Thakur and others.