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Slippers, stones and black flags replace words in Madhya Pradesh poll season

The campaigning in Madhya Pradesh for the state assembly elections has reached a new low with dissent being expressed through black flags, stones and slippers.

Madhya Pradesh Elections 2018 Updated: Sep 09, 2018 11:17 IST
Punya Priya Mitra
Punya Priya Mitra
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
Madhya Pradesh,Madhya Pradesh elections,Madhya Pradesh state elections
There is anger among the youth over several issues and social media is fuelling it, says Congress leader Ajay Singh.(FIle Photo/ For representational purpose)

The campaigning in Madhya Pradesh for the state assembly elections, which is barely two months away, has reached a new low with dissent being expressed through black flags, stones and slippers, and sometimes also heckling of the leaders. The two main political parties in the state, the BJP and the Congress, are blaming each other.

On Sunday, stones were pelted on chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s Jan Ashirvad Yatra bus at Churhat in Sidhi district, where slippers were also hurled during his public function. The same day, he was shown black flags at two other places.

Over 34 people have been booked under various sections for the ‘attack’ on Chouhan, with home minister Bhupendra Singh calling it an attempt on the CM’s life. The BJP blamed the Congress for the disruptions.

Congress leader and Churhat legislator Ajay Singh demanded an inquiry into the events and agreed that this has never been the culture of Madhya Pradesh.

“I am saddened by the events, but it is equally true that wrong people have been framed. Calling it an attempt on the life of the CM is ridiculous. There is anger among the youth over several issues and social media is fuelling it. Political parties should sit down and work out a way of addressing them rather than blame each other,” Singh said.

Chouhan is not the only BJP leader greeted by black flags. Over the last week, Union minister for social justice and empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot faced black flags in Guna, state health minister Rustam Singh and BJP MP Prabhat Jhan was presented with bangles and shown black flags in Morena, while Mandsaur MP Sudhir Gupta had to face the ire of locals in his constituency.

The Congress too is seeing its share of problems. AICC general secretary and State in-charge Deepak Babaria was allegedly heckled by his own party members in Rewa on July 29, and had to leave an event in Vidisha on August 6 when supporters of two groups clashed over sharing of dais. Babaria had blamed the BJP for the trouble, which the saffron party refuted.

The Centre’s decision to get a law passed to restore the stringent provisions of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, — which were diluted by a Supreme Court order in April — is one of the reasons behind such protests

Posters have been put across several villages in the state by families belonging to the upper castes ,claiming they will not vote for BJP and the Congress because of the new law.

Political commentator LS Hardeniya said, “Such a trend (of violence) is unfortunate. We do not want to turn this state into a Bihar or Kerala where violence is often used instead of words. Both parties should sit together and decide not to use violence against each other.”

First Published: Sep 09, 2018 07:06 IST