On the day Rahul Gandhi was being welcomed by the cheering crowd, stones were pelted on Chouhan’s cavalcade at Mahidpur town in Ujjain district. A report for Different Truths.
While Congressmen are celebrating the successful visit of Congress president Rahul Gandhi to Bhopal, angry demonstration against chief minister Shiv Raj Singh Chouhan at many places are causing worry for the BJP. On the day Rahul Gandhi was being welcomed by the cheering crowd stones were pelted on Chouhan’s cavalcade at Mahidpur town in Ujjain district.
The day after Rahul’s visit an angry crowd tried to show black flags to the chief minister during his Ashirvad Yatra at Satna. About two dozen people were injured, six of them critically, when police resorted to a mild cane charge after a big mob protesting against amendments to the SC-ST (prevention of atrocity) Act turned violent during chief minister’s visit. Over 80 people were rounded up and cases registered against more than 200 in the incident, according to sources. The protesters pelted stones at police, who had to resort to a mild lathi charge to disperse the mob.
Members of the upper caste groups had threatened in the past that they would stage protests during the CM’s programme. Accordingly the protesters gathered near the Rewa road and started heading towards the venue of the programme to show black flags to the chief minister. When police stopped the crowd, there was heated argument, leading to stone pelting by the mob.
Alarmed by the alienation of the upper caste people, the BJP has started wooing the OBCs. As part of this newly evolved strategy, the party organised what it called OBC Mahakumbh at Satna. The chief minister was at Satna to address the gathering of OBCs. It was during this programme that the upper caste people tried to show black flags to him. Chouhan, while addressing the gathering, promised stringent action against the misuse of SC/ST (Presentation of Atrocities) Act saying he would never allow anyone to misuse the law meant to help backward and marginalised sections.
“I would not only safeguard the interests of SCs and STs but also ensure that injustice is not done with innocent people. Provisions have been made for a section of society to help them enjoy their rights. But I will not allow misuse of any law to do injustice with innocent people. BJP had promoted equality through the motto ‘Sabka Saaath Sabka Vikas’ and steps taken by the party for the welfare of people include all sections of the society,” Chouhan declared.
Chouhan said that being a member of a backward community he is aware of the challenges before the OBCs. The welfare schemes launched by the state government also focus on every section of the society.
The chief minister also announced sops for the OBC and said that the government will construct rest rooms and community centres for them in selected cities. He also lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for giving constitutional status to the OBC Commission, alleging that the Congress tried to scuttle the move.
The OBC Mahakumbh, which was to be held on September 10, was postponed due to heavy rains in the region. Sources in BJP said that the party is trying to woo the 23% OBC voters ahead of assembly polls this year end. The party is also eyeing the OBC to play an important role in bringing BJP back to power in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Madhya Pradesh comprises 3.75 crore OBC population with their substantial concentration in Bundelkhand, Mahakaushal, Chambal and Gwalior region. BJP has 40 OBC MLAs in the state assembly, six Lok Sabha members and one member in Rajya Sabha. The party is eyeing more than 50 seats in the coming elections with the help of a total 275 sub-castes across the state.
It is difficult to say whether the chief minister’s assurance at the OBC gathering will help to subside the anger of the upper castes. The other day more than two lakh people took out a massive procession in the city of Ujjain. It is claimed that it was the biggest show of strength by upper caste people against the SC-ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Perturbed over the buildup of upper caste anger, the ruling party, besides wooing OBCs, has also decided to launch a massive campaign to win over the upper castes. The chief minister summoned an emergency meeting of the cabined to discuss possible measures to overcome the crisis. It is learnt that Chouhan has asked ministers belonging to upper castes to launch a door to door campaign to explain the issues involved in the controversy caused by SC-ST Act.
State BJP president Rakesh Singh has assigned specific tasks to the ministers, who have been asked to hold closed door meetings with the representatives of upper castes in their constituencies. Meanwhile, in order to win over upper caste people some Brahmin and Rajput leaders are likely to be given important positions. It is learnt that Anoop Mishra, MP, may be given an important position in the organistion. Mishra is the nephew of late Atal Behari Vajyapee and commands considerable influence in the Gwalior region. BJP is facing stiff opposition in the Gwalior-Bhind-Morena region.
The successful visit of Rahul Gandhi has energised the rank and file of the Congress. The Congress leaders claim that partymen came to Bhopal on their own initiative. No facility was given by the party. However, one very small incident relating to the absence of Digvijaya Singh’s cut-out led to a controversy. While cut-outs of other important leaders were seen on the dais, the absence of Digvijay’s cut-out was protested by his followers. Asked about it, Digvijay Singh said he had asked that his cut-outs be not carried. But later Kamal Nath said that it was serious mistake and he publicly apologised for it.
L S Herdenia
Photo from the Internet