Bhopal: The ruling BJP in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh has chalked out a two-pronged strategy to deal with growing dissatisfaction among the upper caste and OBC populations in the state, considered its support base in urban areas, over the recent amendment to the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, by the Centre that has restored a stringent provision on immediate arrest of an accused.
Warnings by multiple survey agencies of a possible backlash by these sections of voters against the ruling party in the year-end Assembly polls has prompted the BJP leadership to prepare a strategy to douse the anger of the upper caste and OBC communities and bring them back to the party fold, a senior BJP leader told this newspaper here.
As part of the twin-strategy mulled to pacify the resenting upper caste and OBC communities, which constitute around 60 per cent of the population of the state and are traditionally considered to be the alleged perpetrators of atrocities against SC/ST communities, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has made a “commitment” that “no arrest will be made without a probe in the cases of SC/ST Act”.
“A circular by the state government accommodating the chief minister’s commitment in the Central law on SC/ST Act is soon going to be notified to remove apprehensions of victimisation due to the modified law,” a BJP leader said.
“The guiding principle of the policy of our government on the issue will be no appeasement or discrimination to any caste,” said BJP spokesman Rajnish Agrawal.
Besides, BJP leaders have been told to engage with upper caste and OBC leaders to clear the misunderstandings on the modified SC/ST Act, a party leader said.
“The informal exercise is aimed at foiling designs by political rivals to use the issue as a propaganda tool,” he said.
The September 26 ruling by the Supreme Court that has ruled out reservation in promotions in government jobs has come as a relief for the BJP in MP. “The ongoing stir by upper caste and OBC leaders will automatically lose steam following the SC verdict,” a senior BJP leader said.
Incidentally, the Samanya Pichda Barg Adhikari Karmachari Sanstha (SAPAKS), which is spearheading the stir against the modified SC/ST Act in MP has decided not to back off on its decision to field candidates in all the 230 seats in the state.
“Around 4.5 lakh out of total 6.5 lakh employees of the state government come from upper castes and OBC communities. We are confident of winning their support to make dents in both BJP and Congress bases,” SAPAKS president H. Tripathy said.