Prakash Yashwant Ambedkar is an Indian political leader and the grandson of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. He is a three-time Member of Parliament (MP) and the president of political party called the Vanchit Bahujan Aaghadi. In this article we are going to know the complete biography of Prakash Yashwant Ambedkar and his political career.
Prakash Yashwant Ambedkar (born 10 May 1954), popularly known as Balasaheb Ambedkar, is an Indian politician, social activist, writer and lawyer from Maharashtra. He is the president of political party called the Vanchit Bahujan Aaghadi.
Prakash Ambedkar is a three-time Member of Parliament (MP). He is the grandson of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, the architect of modern India. He was a member of the 12th and 13th Lok Sabha Akola constituency of India. He has served in both houses of the Indian Parliament.
Biography of Prakash Yashwant Ambedkar
Prakash Yashwant Ambedkar
10 May 1954 (Mumbai)
Politician, Lawyer and Social Worker
Meera Ambedkar and Yashwant Ambedkar
Anjali Maydeo (m. 1993)
Positions held (MP)
Marathi, Hindi and English
Yashwant Niwas, Kavaram Society, Akola- 444001
Social media sites
Early life and education
Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar and Ramabai had five children – Yashwant, Gangadhar, Ramesh, Indu (daughter) and Rajratna. Yashwant alone survived as his descendant. Apart from Yashwant (1912–1977), the other four died in their childhood.
On 19 April 1953, Yashwant married Meera Ambedkar in a Buddhist manner. Prakash was born on 10 May 1954 in Mumbai to Yashwant and Meera. Prakash Ambedkar is the eldest grandson of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar and Ramabai Ambedkar. He has two younger brothers Bhimrao and Anandraj, and a sister Ramā who is married to Dr Anand Teltumbde. In 1993, Prakash Ambedkar is married to Anjali Maydeo, a chitpavan Brahmin. The couple has a son named Sujat. Prakash Ambedkar’s wife and step-grandmother [Savita] were both Brahmins by birth. The Ambedkar family are followers of Navayana Buddhism.
In 1972, Prakash Ambedkar completed his higher secondary education from St. Stanislaus High School, Mumbai. In 1978, he received Bachelor of Arts (BA) from Siddharth College of Arts, and in 1981 he got Bachelor of Laws (LLB) in Siddharth College of Law, Mumbai.
Prakash Ambedkar relation with Rajratna Ambedkar –
Rajratna Ambedkar is great-grandson of Anandrao Ambedkar, an elder brother of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. As such, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar was Rajratna’s cousin great-grandfather. That is, Rajratna is the great grand nephew of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar.
Prakash Ambedkar is Rajratna’s cousin uncle, and Rajratna is the cousin nephew of Adv. Prakash Ambedkar
Political career of Prakash Ambedkar
Republican Party of India
Prakash Ambedkar is a powerful politician in Maharashtra. Being a descendant of Babasaheb Ambedkar, he is very popular among Buddhists in the state. He inherited the political legacy in his family. Prakash’s father Yashwant Ambedkar was a member of the Maharashtra Legislative Council, while his grandfather Dr BR Ambedkar was an MLC, MLA, Minister, MP etc. Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar is among the top three most influential and greatest political leaders in Indian history.
During his early political career, Prakash Ambedkar worked in the ‘Republican Party of India’, a political party formed out of the concept of Babasaheb. On 4 July 1994, Prakash Ambedkar established the Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh. This party was a splintered group amongst other factions of the Republican Party of India which was constituted on directions of his grandfather after his death.
The Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh contested established political parties like Indian National Congress, Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party in the Akola municipal elections, emerging victorious.
The success was gained through the new social engineering brought by Prakash Ambedkar which later known as “Akola Pattern”. The expansion of the party continued after 1995, that some of the non-Dalit parties and organisations have joined the Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh.
Prakash Ambedkar was a member of the Rajya Sabha during 1990 – 1996. He was elected in the 12th Lok Sabha elections from Akola Lok Sabha constituency in 1998 as a candidate of the Republican Party of India.
Second time from the same constituency in 1999, he was elected as the Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh’s candidate for the 13th Lok Sabha elections and he was a member of the Lok Sabha till 2004.
Mr. Ambedkar followed a policy, on the one hand, of regrouping the Dalits, and on the other of following a moderate line seeking alliance with those opposition parties which sympathised with the Dalit cause.
It was with their support that he twice contested elections to the parliament from non-reserved constituencies. Though not successful in getting elected, he polled a sizeable number of votes on both the occasions.
The RPI organised a march from Nashik to Mumbai to press its demands, prominent among which was the transfer of vatan lands to their Dalit cultivators. (Both before and after the British Raj, certain lands were given to people for services rendered by them to the government or to the community or to both.
These lands are also called “watan lands” in local legislation and in Maharashtra many of the watans were abolished between 1950 and 1960.) In response, the government appointed a committee with Prakash Ambedkar as a member.
The RPI’s greatest success was in 1988 when Prakash Ambedkar, in alliance with other Dalit organisations, took out a massive demonstration in Mumbai. The occasion was the controversy regarding a move to delete from the official publication of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s writings a portion called Riddles of Hinduism.
The deletion move was supported by Shiv Sena which by this time was emerging as a Hindu political organisation. To bring all Dalit organisations together for this purpose, Prakash Ambedkar formed Ambedkar Vichar Samvardhak Samiti (AVSS).
Under the leadership of Prakash Ambedkar, R. S. Gavai and others on 5 February 1988, Dalits put on a massive show of strength which brought more than four to five lakh followers of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar into the heart of Mumbai city from different parts of Maharashtra and also from Gujarat and other states.
Within days of the Dalit demonstration in Mumbai, the ‘Riddles’ issue was resolved at a meeting on February 10 of representatives of the Shiv Sena, the Maratha Mahasangh and the various groups of the Republican Party of India and the Dalit Panthers called by the state chief minister.
It was agreed at the meeting that the relevant appendix would be retained intact in the fourth volume of the Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar : writing and speeches; only a line would be added to clarify that the Maharashtra government did not agree or disagree with Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s comments on the Hindu gods.
Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh
Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh, a party founded by Prakash Ambedkar on 4 July 1994, produced MPs and MLAs.
Bahujan Mahasangh, a political formation working in close association with the Bharatiya Republican Party led by Prakash Ambedkar, was formed in February 1993. In the summer of that year, its candidate won Kinwat legislative assembly seat in Nanded district, defeating Congress and BJP contestants.
The alliance between Bharatiya Republican Party and Bahujan Mahasangh visualised a joint front of Dalits and OBCs whose cultural identity was essentially non-Brahmin. Bahujan Mahasangh argued that in the Brahminical social order, both Dalits and OBCs find themselves equally oppressed culturally.
Bahujan Mahasangh had defined the Bahujan category to include Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains and Muslims, as well as caste groups such as OBCs (Other backward classes) and Dalits, tribes, women, poor Marathas, and poor Brahmins, thus including all those who are subjugated through caste, class and gender exploitation.
Following are the candidates elected on Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh ticket.
Lok Sabha: In 1999, Prakash Ambedkar was elected from the Akola Lok Sabha constituency in the 13th Lok Sabha elections. He is the only MP elected on Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh ticket.
Maharashtra Legislative Assembly: Many candidates have been elected to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly on Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh ticket.
- In 1999, three members were elected to the 10th Maharashtra Legislative Assembly namely Ramdas Maniram Bodkhe (Akot), Darshan Motiram Bhande (Borgaon Manju) and Vasant Dhoda Suryavanshi (Sakri).
- In 2004, Bhade Haridas Pandhari (Borgaon Manju) was the only candidate elected to the 11th Maharashtra Legislative Assembly.
- In 2009, Haridas Pandhari Bhade (Akola East) was the only candidate elected to the 12th Maharashtra Legislative Assembly.
- Later in 2014, Baliram Siraskar (Balapur) was the only candidate elected to the 13th Maharashtra Legislative Assembly.
The Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh was merged with the ‘Vanchit Bahujan Aaghadi’ ahead of the next 2019 14th Maharashtra Assembly Elections. In 2019, the Vanchit Bahujan Aaghadi contested several seats in the 14th Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, but did not get a single candidate elected.
Bhima Koregaon violence and ‘Maharashtra Bandh’
In memory of Mahar soldiers who fought in the Battle of Koregaon, their descendants (Buddhists) visit Koregaon Bhima on 1 January every year to honor them. On 1 January 2018, Buddhists, as well as some Hindu dalit, OBC and Sikh people visited the ‘Jay sthambh’ (victory pillar) at Koregaon Bhima in Pune district, Maharashtra.
On 1 January 2018, like every year, Dalit organizations poured into Bhima Koregaon. Tensions had begun to build in a neighbouring village over the question of which community had conducted the last rites of Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj – the Mahar or the Maratha. The panchayat of Bhima Koregaon issued a notice asking residents to boycott the event by calling for all shops to remain shut that day.
On January 1, a mob from Vadhu Badruk area attacked the dalits who were going to attend the annual meeting around the Vijay Stambh. This was after orders were given at Sanaswadi Panchayats for complete strike and celebrate 1 January 2018 as black day. It is alleged that hindutva leaders Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide had instigated the mob against the Dalit procession.
FIRs were subsequently filed against them but no action was taken by the police against them. Dalit organizations blocked roads and started demonstrations across Maharashtra Violence was reported across Pune – a 16-year-old boy was killed during the violence.
Prakash Ambedkar accused Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote of seducing the invading Hindutva people and demanded the police investigation and strict action against the two. But the Maharashtra government and the state police did not take any action against the culprits. So on 3 January 2018, he called on the people of Maharashtra to call “Maharashtra Bandh“.
The aftermath consisted of various protests across Maharashtra resulting in 30 policemen being injured and over 300 people being detained. Protests were staged all over Maharashtra. In Mumbai, suburban trains were affected due to which Dabbawalas had to suspend their services.
This call to shut down Maharashtra received a huge response from the people and the bandh was a success. The bandh was seen across Maharashtra including Mumbai. According to Ambedkar, more than 50% Maharashtrian people participated in the bandh.
Earlier only Bal Thackeray of Shiv Sena had the power to shut down Mumbai. Subsequently, Prakash Ambedkar’s political power increased. He came to the center of Ambedkarite and Bahujan community. The youth group in particular became his supporters.
Vanchit Bahujan Aaghadi
Adv. Prakash Ambedkar founded new political party the Vanchit Bahujan Aaghadi (transl: Deprived Majority Front; abbr. VBA) on 20 March 2018 with its ideology primarily emphasizing Constitutionalism, Ambedkarism, Secularism, Socialism and Progressivism.
The Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi registered as a political party a year later on 15 March 2019, prior to the 2019 elections for Lok Sabha. It is supported by nearly 100 small political parties and social organizations. Prakash Ambedkar is the supremo of the Vanchit Bahujan Aaghadi.
Prakash Ambedkar unveiled the official flag of Vanchit Bahujan Aaghadi on 31 March 2019. The flag features a blue Bhima flag with a white Ashoka Chakra; It also has orange, yellow and green colored triangles.
On 14 March 2019, Prakash Ambedkar has announced the Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh will merge with the Vanchit Bahujan Aaghadi. He said that, despite the ‘Akola pattern’ of social engineering through the success of the Bharip-Bahujan Mahasangh, the word ‘Bharip [=Bhartiya Republican party]’ (RPI=Republican party of India) had limited the expansion of the party.
He said that after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Bharip-Bahujan Mahasangh will merge with the Vanchit Bahujan Aaghadi, because the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi is acceptable in a broad sense.
The then MLA of AIMIM party from Aurangabad Imtiaz Jalil (now MP) held talks with AIMIM president and MP Asaduddin Owaisi for alliance with Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi and it turned out positive.
Owaisi then announced his support to the Bahujan Vanchit Aaghadi at a meeting of the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi in Aurangabad on 2 October 2018, and the AIMIM party and the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi formed an alliance. AIMIM and VBA also fought together in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
17th Lok Sabha Election, 2019
In March 2019, VBA declared its first list of 37 candidates along with their caste or religions being mentioned. The candidates of VBA have been selected from different politically deprived communities such as Dhangar, Kunbi, Bhil, Buddhist, Koli, Vadar, Lohar, Varli, Banjara, Muslim, Mali, Kaikadi, Dhivar, Matang, Agri, Shimpi, Lingayat, Golla and Maratha.
Prakash Ambedkar said the caste of the candidates had been given because no other political party does so and it was essential to highlight that these people were, in his opinion, kept out of politics by competing parties because of issues relating to caste.
The Election Commission of India has given election symbol “Teacup” (Cup Bashi) to most of the VBA candidates for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Out of the 48 seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha seat in Maharashtra, AIMIM contested in one seat of Aurangabad and the VBA candidate for the remaining 47 seats.
In the Lok Sabha elections 2019, the sole candidate of AIMIM Imtiyaz Jaleel won while no candidate from VBA could win the polls. In the 17 constituencies of the state, the candidates of the VBA got more than 80,000 votes.
According to the figures released by the Election Commission of India, in the Lok Sabha elections held in Maharashtra in 2019, VBA and AIMIM candidates had got 4,132,242 (7.64%) votes.
47 candidates standing on the VBA ticket received 37,43,200 votes, it was 6.92% of the total votes in Maharashtra and VBA had 7.08% votes of the 47 constituencies contested (excluding Aurangabad constituency).
In all the 48 constituencies in Maharashtra, 54,054,245 voters were polled, out of which 1,198,221 voters were polled in the Aurangabad constituency. VBA supported AIMIM was the first place in a Lok Sabha constituency in Aurangabad for getting more votes, whereas VBA was the second in the Akola constituency and the third place in 41 constituencies.
Prakash Ambedkar contested and lost from both Akola and Solapur in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The party leader has been an MP twice from the Akola Loksabha constituency before losing his seat in the 2019 elections.
Earlier, in the 16th Lok Sabha elections held in 2014, Prakash Ambedkar contested 23 candidates in the state on Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh ticket, but all were defeated. They got a combined 3,60,854 (0.7%) votes.
Prakash Ambedkar’s party got around 37.5 lakh votes in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, but his party got less than 4 lakh votes in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. This difference between the two Lok Sabha elections shows Prakash Ambedkar’s political strength, although he could not convert these votes into power.
In the 13th Maharashtra Assembly elections held in 2014, Prakash Ambedkar contested 70 candidates on Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh ticket, but only one of them won. All the candidates got a combined 4,72,925 (0.9%) votes.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha and Maharashtra Assembly elections, Prakash Ambedkar’s party got very less votes compared to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
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13th Maharashtra Legislative Assembly elections in 2014
After the Lok Sabha, the Legislative Assembly elections were held in Maharashtra. Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen fell out over seat allocation for the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly elections and their alliance broke up in September 2019. After the election, the coalition broke up, and the MIM also suffered.
The Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi had nominated all the communities like OBC, nomadic, scheduled caste, scheduled tribe, Muslim and minorities while giving candidature for the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly.
Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi had fielded candidates in 234 constituencies out of 288 constituencies of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. vba also supported 23 other candidates. After Bahujan Samaj Party (262 seats contested), Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi contested the most seats.
According to the list released by the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi in this assembly election, the party had nominated 18 people from the Maratha community. 18 percent of the candidates belong to the nomadic (NT) caste group, among which Banjara, Vanjari and Dhangar castes were given the highest preference.
50 candidates (17 per cent) were given from Scheduled Caste (SC); Out of these 42 candidates were Buddhists and 8 candidates belonged to Chambhar, Mochi, Mang and Dhor castes. There were 32 candidates (11 percent) from the OBC community, which included the majority of candidates from small castes such as Halba Koshti, Mali, Sonar, Kunbi, Leva Patil.
The party fielded 25 Muslim candidates (9%). In that too, Vanchit gave preference to candidates from backward caste groups such as Shikalgars, Dhobis, Patwas among Muslims. In 25 reserved constituencies for Scheduled Tribes (ST), Vanchit had fielded candidates (9 percent).
Mana, Gond, Gowari, small tribes among tribals were represented by Vanchit in the candidature. The party had fielded 25 candidates (9%) from the Dhangar community. Vanchit fielded two Christian (one East Indian), one Sikh, and one Marwari (Jain) candidate.
VBA had contested 12 women candidates (4 percent). The Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi had supported independent and AIMIM candidates in some constituencies, including Aurangabad East, Byculla, and Kurla constituencies.
Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi did not win any of the 234 seats contested in the assembly elections. In this election, the party’s candidates got more than 24 lakh votes (4.6 %). In 10 constituencies the candidates of Vanchit got number two votes, while in many constituencies they got number three votes.
After this, Prakash Ambedkar was seen participating in many political events. In July 2022, Prakash Ambedkar supported Draupadi Murmu in the presidential election.
Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi is now preparing for the next elections. By forming alliance with a political party VBA can increase its power and perform successfully.
In January 2023, Prakash Ambedkar has formed an alliance with former Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray‘s ‘Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray)’ party. About Shiv Sena’s Hindutva, Prakash Ambedkar said that the party follows the Hindutva of Prabodhankar Thackeray. It will be important to see how this alliance performs in the future.
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Prakash Ambedkar has held following positions,
- 1990-96: Nominated Member, Rajya Sabha from 18 September 1990 to 17 September 1996.
- 1992-96: Member, Committee on Rules
- 1993-96: Member, Committee on Communications
- 1998-99: Elected to 12th Lok Sabha, (1st term) Leader, Republican Party of India Parliamentary Party
- 1998-99: Member, Committee on Food, Civil Supplies and Public Distribution; Member, Consultative Committee, Ministry of Human Resource Development
- 1999–2004: Re-elected to 13th Lok Sabha (2nd term); Leader, Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh Parliamentary Party, Lok Sabha
- 1999-2000: Member, Committee on Energy
- 2000–2004: Member, Consultative Committee, Ministry of Railways
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