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MVA still interested in holding seat-sharing talks with Prakash Ambedkar-led VBA: Raut

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Mumbai, Apr 2 (PTI) Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut on Tuesday said the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) is still interested in holding seat-sharing talks with the Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA), which has already declared candidates for several Lok Sabha seats.

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Talking to reporters, Raut reiterated his demand to scrap electronic voting machines (EVMs) and conduct polls on ballot papers, claiming that the BJP will bear the brunt if polling is not conducted on EVMs.

Prakash Ambedkar was in talks with the MVA, comprising the Congress, the Nationalist Congress (Sharadchandra Pawar) and the Shiv Sena (UBT), for the Lok Sabha polls but recently announced candidates for 20 out of 48 seats.

The Sena (UBT) leader claimed that Ambedkar's party stopped talks with the MVA, which had given it a proposal for five seats, including Akola, Ramtek, Dhule and a seat in Mumbai.

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"We were not the one to stop the dialogue with the VBA. On the contrary, we are still keen on holding talks with the party," he said.

VBA candidates finished third in many constituencies in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, in which nominees of the Congress or NCP (undivided) came second, indicating that votes were split in favour of winning candidates, mostly from the BJP and Shiv Sena (undivided).

The Sena (UBT) leader further said Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde will soon lose his chair, and asserted that the party's doors were not open to "traitors".

The Congress on Monday announced the candidature of Dr Abhay Patil from Akola Lok Sabha seat.

Patil will take on sitting BJP MP Sanjay Dhotre's son Anup Dhotre, and Ambedkar, who lost from the seat in the 2019 polls. PTI PR ARU

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