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Tribal Outfit JAYS to Contest MP Assembly Polls, Will Field Candidates in 80 Tribal-dominated Seats

JAYS, a tribal youth organization founded in 2012 claims to have ten lakh members in Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Chattisgarh and Jharkhand. It first came in limelight in 2013 when it held the country’s first ever Facebook panchayat in Alirajpur district.

Vivek Trivedi | News18

Updated:September 1, 2018, 8:36 PM IST
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Tribal Outfit JAYS to Contest MP Assembly Polls, Will Field Candidates in 80 Tribal-dominated Seats
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Bhopal: Posing a threat to the ruling BJP and opposition Congress in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh, JAYS, an organisation representing tribals in the state has declared its intentions to contest the 80 tribal-dominated constituencies.

“We have given a slogan of ‘Abki Baar, Adivasi Sarkar’ and would form the next government by fielding candidates on 80 seats,” convener of Jai Adivasi Yuva Sangthan (JAYS) Dr Hiralal Alawa, who works as an assistant professor of rheumatology at AIIMS, New Delhi, told media on Saturday.

When it was pointed out that the party would need a minimum of 116 MLAs to form the government, Dr Alawa said the they would seek support from like-minded parties except BJP, which according to him did not offer any development to tribal areas that were plagued by problems like malnutrition, migration, lack of jobs, education, health and power supply in the last 15 years.

He further stated that ethnic people had around 21% vote share in MP and 47 Assembly seats were reserved for the ST community, adding that the community also has a representation of more than 40,000 at 40 unreserved seats.

“Any political party, including Congress, could extend support if they wish so,” said Dr Alawa.

On being reminded about his earlier statements about JAYS not contesting polls, Dr Alawa said the organization felt that it would not be able to ensure rights for the community, unless its members enter politics.

The tribal community, Dr Alawa said, for the first time in history took out a mega rally on August 31 with the slogan of ‘Abki Baar, Adivasi Sarkar’ in 20 tribal-dominated districts of Madhya Pradesh, with several participants in Jabalpur.

The organization, which is working towards raising social and political awareness among the tribals in MP and other states, proposes to organize a mega rally in Dhar’s Kukshi on September 2.

Attacking the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government for distributing shoes and slippers laced with cancerous chemicals among tribals, the organsiation demanded that FIRs be filed against officers responsible for the goof up.

At least ten persons have complained about skin-related ailments after wearing the slippers provided by the state government, he said.

Alleging that the BJP government hasn’t offered tribals their due Constitutional rights and possession of land under the Forest Land Rights Act, Dr Alawa claimed that tribal land was handed over to Birla group in Dhar. He added that hundreds were displaced in Barwani and Khargone. He further alleged that in Hoshangabad, several people were dislodged on the pretext of a tiger reserve.

The organization’s decision to contest polls might pose problems for the Congress as the party has traditionally enjoyed the support of indigenous people. The ruling BJP, however, might not be affected given that the saffron party primarily relies on votes from upper caste and dominant OBC.

Reacting to JAYS’ announcement, BJP spokesperson Rajnish Agrawal claimed that soon after JAYS announced that it would contest polls, an internal rift led to several of its factions joining BJP in Dhar and other places as they found ideological similarity with BJP. “Even if JAYS fields candidates, it would only dent the Congress vote bank and Congress also doesn’t have a clear strategy for these groups,” Agrawal said.

Till the time of publication, Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee head Kamal Nath’s office did not respond to queries on the development.

JAYS, a tribal youth organization founded in 2012 claims to have ten lakh members in Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Chattisgarh and Jharkhand. It first came in limelight in 2013 when the organization held the country’s first ever Facebook panchayat in Alirajpur district, followed by a similar event in Barwani next year.

Their first tryst with mainstream politics came in 2017 when around 162 candidates backed by the organization won student union polls in Dhar, Jhabua, Alirajpur and Barwani districts, defeating candidates from RSS-backed ABVP and Congress’ NSUI.

With BSP slicing 6.5% vote share in last Assembly polls and Gondwana Gantantra Party, with representation among the tribals pocketing 1% vote share, JAYS throwing its hat in the ring might not be a good news for many, especially the Congress.
| Edited by: Padmaja Venkataraman
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