New issues have begun to crop up before the BJP and the Congress in the Gwalior-Chambal region where by-elections for 16 seats will be held.
The Dalits have lot of influence in these seats. They decide the fate of candidate in this region. Six seats in both the divisions have been reserved for the SC category.
One can still feel the heat that the Dalit agitation generated in this region on April 2, 2018. Before the Assembly elections, the Congress had assured the Dalits that it would withdraw cases against them. That promise is haunting the Congress in the ensuing bypolls.
Cases were registered against more than 250 in Bhind, Morena and Gwalior in connection with the agitation. The then Congress government set up a committee headed by the home minister.
Committees were also formed in the districts. It was decided that the cases would be withdrawn on the basis of recommendations of those panels.
The committees discussed those cases in their meetings. Yet, none of the cases were withdrawn during the 15-month rule of the Congress led by Kamal Nath.
Dalits are angry with the Congress for this. It has come to light during the electioneering of the Congress leaders. Dalits are opposing the Congress leaders for their failure to withdraw cases.
They are not sparing the BJP candidates either. Such candidates sought votes as Congress aspirants in the Vidhan Sabha elections -- 2018.
It was, in fact, these candidates who assured the Dalits that the cases against them would be withdrawn.
The bitterness among Dalits against the Congress as well as against the BJP may impact the election results.
The BSP seems to have fathomed the annoyance of Dalits people. Therefore, the party has sought votes in its favour.
Nonetheless, it is not yet clear whether the Dalits in this region will cast votes in favour of the BSP.
The BJP, the BSP and the Congress are in a dilemma over the Dalit votes.
There are cases against upper caste people too
Cases were also registered against upper caste people during the Dalit agitation. It is because of pressure from both castes that the cases could not be withdrawn.
Some of the cases are connected to serious crimes. Thus, the Congress leaders are not making any promise either to the Dalits or to the upper castes in the by-elections.