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It's Kranti Diwas Vs Adivasi Diwas in Poll-Bound MP as Congress, BJP Jostle for Tribal Votes

Both parties will try to reach out to the state’s substantial tribal population on the occasion of World Tribal Day.

Vivek Trivedi | News18

Updated:August 8, 2018, 10:44 PM IST
It's Kranti Diwas Vs Adivasi Diwas in Poll-Bound MP as Congress, BJP Jostle for Tribal Votes
File photo of Kamal Nath and Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
Bhopal: Thursday will see a tussle between the ruling BJP and the Congress in Madhya Pradesh as both parties will try to reach out to the state’s substantial tribal population on the occasion of World Tribal Day.

While the BJP will observe August 9 as Adivasi Diwas, Congress plans to reach out to the tribal population by celebrating Kranti Diwas in Jhabua, the hometown of freedom fighter Chandrashekhar ‘Azad’, as the day also marks the 76th anniversary of the historical Quit India Movement.

Smaller political factions, including RPI, Gondwana Gantantra Party, Dalit Sena, too, have announced protests on the day. Tribal groups nationally have announced that they will observe the day as Gaurav Diwas (Pride Day).

The BJP, which is aiming to pocket votes in 47 assembly constituencies and six parliamentary seats that have dominant tribal population, has announced a holiday on Thursday in 20 tribal-dominated districts.

Party leaders would also visit tribal areas to meet the local population and will highlight their achievements.

Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan would address a gathering in Dhar district and the tribal population in 19 other districts would see live streaming of the speech. Sources said that the CM could make a significant announcement during his speech.

The Shivraj government would also felicitate achievers from the community and also distribute certificates to beneficiaries of various welfare schemes and felicitate meritorious students. The MP government also plans to hold cultural events in 89 tribal-dominated blocks.

In the last few months, CM Shivraj has been making whirlwind tours of tribal districts and has been announcing sops for the locals like free saris, footwear, water bottles and other incentives.

The move assumes significance as internal surveys conducted by the BJP and the RSS have revealed that the saffron party could be on a sticky wicket on these seats in the year-end assembly polls.

Earlier this year, PM Narendra Modi had paid a visit to tribal-dominated Mandla district and highlighted their contribution in the freedom struggle and announced the establishment of a museum dedicated to tribal freedom fighters.

The Congress, whose state head Kamal Nath represents the tribal-dominated Mahakaushal region, does not want to loosen its grip on tribal votes. The party’s leaders would pay visits to tribal areas to express solidarity with the local population.

Nath, party leaders said, would pay a visit to village Bhabhra in Jhabua, the birthplace of Chandrashekhar Azad on Thursday. The party would also take out tiranga yatra across the state.

The Congress top leadership has asked it workers and leaders to visit tribals in far flung areas and listen to their grievances.

MP cabinet minister and a prominent tribal face – Om Prakash Dhurve - said that they (tribal community) had urged the state government to observe this day in special manner.

“We would brief the community about the welfare schemes meant for them and would also felicitate freedom fighters and achievers from the section,” added Dhurve.

Tribals form 21 per cent of MP’s population and are a decisive force in elections as they are the second largest vote bank after OBCs, which form more than half of the state’s population.

Setting alarm bells ringing for BJP, Jayas, a progressive group of tribals, has already given a memorandum to the CM for fulfilling a list of demands that includes permanent land rights to forest dwellers and sufficient budget for ST-dominated areas.

The group has threatened to field its own candidates in the assembly polls if the state government fails to take a call on their demands by Thursday.
(Get detailed and live results of each and every seat in the Lok Sabha elections and state Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim to know which candidate/party is leading or trailing and to know who has won and who has lost and by what margin. Our one-of-its-kind Election Analytics Centre lets you don a psephologist’s hat and turn into an election expert. Know interesting facts and trivia about the elections and see our informative graphics. Elections = News18)
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