Bhopal: They are young, they are ambitious and they are well-educated. And, they some of them have chucked their well-heeled jobs to try and make some difference.
Meet the new crop of leaders trying to infuse some degree of freshness, idealism and energy into the stale, cynical world of electoral politics in Madhya Pradesh.
This doc treats more than just diseases
Dr Hiralal Alawa
Home town: Kukshi (Dhar)
Idol: Barrack Obama
Party: Jai Adivasi Yuva Shakti (JAYS)
Dr Alawa, who was working with AIIMS, Delhi as an assistant professor in Rheumatology department, decided to quit his job and join politics when he found that the parties are doing pretty little for the uplift of his tribal community.
“It all started with a Facebook page of JAYS, which I launched in 2012. It gained quite a popularity among tribal youngsters. Later, we organised a Facebook Panchayat of the followers of the page, that witnessed a huge gathering. This boosted my confidence and I started working for resolving the issues facing the tribal community”, said Dr Alawa.
Dr Alawa’s was irked by the fact that people had to make rounds of political leaders to get their work done. “I was extremely upset that leaders of my own community didn’t pay heed to the problems of the people who had elected them. I realised staging dharnas and demonstrations isn’t going to work and decided to turn JAYS into a political party”, said Dr Alawa.
A Thakur working for tribals
Balbeer Singh Tomar
Home town: Bhind
Idol: Hira Singh Markam
Party: Gondwana Gantantra Party
Tomar came to Bhopal looking for work 16 years back and got employed as a security guard in the Govindpura area. According to him, a tribal woman, along with her kids, toiling at a construction site, made him decide to work for the poor.
“The fact that leaders of prominent political parties give least importance to the issues of the poor used to rankle me since my childhood and I always thought that I will work for such people. In 2002, I joined Gondwana Gantantra Party so that I can get a platform to work for tribals,” said Tomar.
Balbeer believes that the main reason why his party could not make much headway in the state in the past was lack of young leadership and confining the party to just one tribe – the Gonds. “In the past 10 years, we have worked extremely hard at the ground level and have emerged as a voice of not only Gonds but other tribes as well”, said Tomar.
Kisan Ka Beta to take on Kisan Putra?
Home town: Budhni (Sehore)
Idol: Mahendra Singh Tikait
Arjun Arya had once taken to spirituality and moved to Haryana, leaving everything behind. Later, he shifted to Delhi and pursued BA Honours in Sanskrit from DU. He contested DUSU elections twice and that boosted his confidence. When he came back to his village in 2007, he started raising issues of his village.
“In 2011, a hailstorm hit our area, leaving the farmers shattered. It was a major turning point in my life and for the first time I decided to protests demanding just compensation for their loss to the farmers”, said Arya who calls himself ‘Kisan ka Beta’.
Since 2011 Arya has staged several dharnas and took out multiple rallies for the rights of farmers in Budhni – which is the chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s constituency and has become quite popular among farmers. He claims he had been threatened by goons multiple times for agitations in CM’s constituency.
He was nominated by the SP for contesting from Budhni against Chouhan in the upcoming assembly polls. However, he spurned the offer and joined the Congress. If the party fields him from Budhni, it would be a Kisan Putra versus Kisan Ka Beta battle.
Victim of Behehnji’s whims
Home town: Gwalior
Idol: BR Ambedkar
A computer science engineer who was preparing for UPSC, Devashish got an opportunity to work for the social media team of the BSP. He started strengthening the social media presence of BSP. Within 7-10 months Devashish and his team succeeded in linking seven lakh people. However, his father, who is also an Ambedkarite. didn’t found Devashish’s job appealing.
“Like every parent he was not very satisfied with what I was doing but gradually when I started participating in debates on various news channels my father also started supporting me”, said Devashish.
But many in his own party were not so happy with his growing popularity. “On July 23 this year, the BSP president Mayawati held a press conference and announced my expulsion from the party”, he added.
Devashish recently joined Congress and is one of the new generation faces of the party.
Dr Anand Rai
Home town: Harda
An active student leader since his college days, Dr Anand Rai, an ophthalmologist, is known for his role in exposing the Vyapam scam. He was once considered as Congress supporter but now he is campaigning for the JAYS. Why this switchover?
“When I was working on exposing Vyapam scam, prominent Congress leaders met me. But I gradually realised that the Congress has not done justice with Vyapam Scam issue and I was being used”, said Dr Rai.
Dr Rai joined hands with Dr Hiralal Alawa of JAYS who know each other for quite a long time. “The community to which I belong has always remained close to tribal community. I am well aware of the issues of tribal which
makes my bond with them stronger”, he said.
According to Dr Rai, JAYS may soon form an alliance with other tribal parties of the state.