Upper caste group set to fight all MP House seats

SAPAKS is planning a major show of strength with a rally at Indore by the end of the month.

New Delhi: A third possible alternative that has emerged in Madhya Pradesh politics could possibly disturb the electoral game plan of the Congress and BJP.

Up in arms against the Supreme Court verdict on the amendment of SC/ST atrocities law, Samanya Pichda Alpsankhayak Kalyan Samaj (SAPAKS) an upper caste and OBC-dominated outfit has begun flexing its muscles. The outfit has announced to contest all the 230 Assembly berths in the state.

The Bharat Bandh, which was called by 35 upper-caste organisations on Thursday, was most effective in Madhya Pradesh. Schools and markets in some areas remained closed. Over the past few months, SAPAKS led by former IAS officer of the state, Hiralal Trivedi gradually swelled in ranks.

SAPAKS is planning a major show of strength with a rally at Indore by the end of the month. Speaking to this newspaper one of the founders of the outfit, Lalit Shastri, while claiming that the “bandh was total” said that the party would intensify its movement in the coming days. One of the major demands included “no reservation in promotion for the SC/STs in government services.”

Incidentally, dalits comprise nearly 36 per cent of the population in the state. The BJP, over the past few years, had been able to make deep inroads into the dalit vote bank. However, with the possibly joining hands of BSP and Congress, the dalit vote could split between the two rivals. SAPAKS functionaries believe that if the outfit could consolidate a major portion of the upper caste and OBC vote bank, which constitute nearly 64 per cent, it could pose a possible threat to both Congress and BJP.

It was further argued that during the last Assembly elections both the Congress and BJP had managed to rake in nearly 80 per cent of the vote share while the rest went to others. Besides eyeing this 20 per cent of the vote share, the SAPAKS was also working to woo the majority of the upper castes and OBCs.

Over the past few months, SAPAKS functionaries had gheraoed several Union ministers. and Congress leaders in the state. Some of the Union ministers gheraoed by SAPAKS include Narendra Singh Tomar and Thawar Chand Gehlot while it staged a demonstration against Congress leaders, including Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia. Speaking to the media, BJP state spokesperson Rajneesh Agrawal claimed that there might be a “conspiracy” behind SAPAKS raising its head in MP ahead of the state elections. He had “urged” the people “not be swayed by emotional reactions or disturb social harmony. “

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