Assembly election 2018: How the rising Third Force was demolished in Madhya Pradesh

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Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh has registered a record polling of about 75% in the general election for the State Assembly.

The main opposition Congress is seeing the rise in voting percentage in the central Indian State of Madhya Pradesh as a vote for change and is optimistic that this time the ruling Bharatiya Janata party would be voted out of power after three consecutive victories since 2003.

It is noteworthy that despite charges of corruption and the massive Vyapam scam, and the anti-incumbency factor, the main Opposition Congress failed to build a wave against the BJP.  Still it is hoping to form the next government in MP. The BJP mandarins are also keeping their fingers crossed and their mood is upbeat by media reports that the BJP would still be able to cobble up a majority with outside support if it fails to get a majority.

When the election results would be announced on December 11, there will be no victors but only survivors because the Third Force that had gained ground on the issue of caste-based reservation and the Atrocities Act and had the potential to leave a phenomenal impact on the Madhya Pradesh Assembly election got crushed at the very outset by the machinations of a motley crowd of power-hungry opportunist elements. – Lalit Shastri

Riding an upsurge of anger over the amendment to the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, and the widespread opposition to the caste-based quota system, the third force was raising its head in the State. It was a perfect recipe for the third force to leave an impact on the electoral politics of Madhya Pradesh, especially during the current round of elections.

Unfortunately, a couple of ex-Babu’s (retired promotee IAS officers), apparently  did everything to hijack and take political mileage out of the Sapaks Movement that was built entirely at the initiative of Lalit Shastri, the founder President of Sapaks Samaj (Samanya Pichda Alpsankhyayan Kalyan Samaj). It is a citizens’ organisation opposed to the caste-based quota system and the latest amendment to the SC/ST Atrocities Act. The Sapaks Movement was built by Shastri from scratch with plenty of ground work.  When general elections to the State Assembly were round the corner, the opportunist elements, who had joined the Sapaks organisation very recently, got together, cobbled up a political party and named it as Sapaks Party – obviously to give the impression that the Sapaks Movement and the political party with the same name were a single entity. How the voters have viewed this machination would be revealed during the counting of votes on 11 December 2018.

Another player, who also entered the electoral scene during the penultimate stage coinciding with the announcement of the Assembly elections was the much hyped kathavachak Devkinandan Thakur. He landed in Bhopal with a hurriedly stitched up contraption called the Sarv Samaj Kalyan Party (SSKP) and spearheaded a full round of exercise with all kinds of parties that had sprung up mushroom-like on election eve to oppose the quota system.  Devkinandan’s stated goal was to bring the political parties opposed to the Atrocities Act under “one umbrella and a single election symbol”. This proved a damp squib and the unity move met with a stalemate as Sapaks Party, even before it got registered, kept repeating with a jarring note that it was fielding candidates in all 230 constituencies of Madhya Pradesh. It is entirely a different story, how this party took a u-turn in the end and was ready for all kinds of alliances when nominations were already being filed. By now it was too late to impress the discerning citizens. The lid was off when midway during the election process, a couple of candidates representing the Sapaks Party and SSKP  extended support to the BJP and rebel BJP candidates and withdrew from the electoral race. By now it was clear that the Movement that had been built against reservation in Madhya Pradesh was in quandary and total disarray.

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