In a huge jolt to the Congress, Prakash Ambedkar, the chief of the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi, said during a media briefing that his coalition would support Mayawati and not Rahul Gandhi as Prime Minister.
"Our efforts will be to make non-BJP Prime Minister. Instead of the Congress... I would say... the third front would be better. I will stand with Mayawati. We will prefer Mayawati over Rahul Gandhi... I am clear about this," he said.
The latest statement by Ambedkar is a setback to Congress in case his coalition wins a large number of seats in Maharashtra.
The Congess has been sidelined by its former allies in the pre-poll coaliton in the state. The Congress faced rejection from Ambedkar owing to a disagreement in the seat-sharing formula. Ambedkar joined hands with Asaduddin Owaisi which will mean that the Dalit and the Muslim votes can choose the VBA than the Congress which it used to favour earlier.
The Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh leader Prakash Ambedkar had snubbed Congress twiced during the months leading upto the polls.
Congress had made a request to the VBA coalition leader to reconsider his decision of not to become part of its Mahagathabandhan after he had initially declined to support them. However, in a double-blow, Ambedkar categorically refused to ally with the Congress.
The Congress in Maharashtra later lost its potential partners for the Lok Sabha elections. Earlier on Wednesday, the Samajwadi Party and Raju Shetti of the Swabhimani Shetkari Sangathan have are in talks with Mayawati's BSP and likely to form a fourth front.
The National Approval Ratings conducted by Republic TV and CVoter predicted the NDA to rout the NCP and Congress alliance.
Below is the vote-share and seat-share:
UPA: 13 seats
NDA: 35 seats
Total: 48 seats