Dungarpur, Dec 6: The tribals in South Rajasthan are giving sleepless nights to both the national parties--Congress and BJP-- after Gujarat-based Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) forayed into Assembly elections for the first time.
In the Vagad region comprising tribal belt in south Rajasthan, there is resentment in tribals over non-availability of basic facilities, including water supply, power and standard of living which need to be provided by the government.
The undercurrent among scheduled tribes is being banked upon by the BTP. The tribals have been traditional voters of the Congress. But after every five years, they change in selecting law makers.
The party had fielded 17 candidates but only 11 managed to pass the scrutiny by the Election Commission. Among 11, only two candidates are above 35 years. The party is contesting on all the four seats in Dungarpur, 3 out of 5 seats in Banswara, one seat each in Sirohi, Pratapgarh and Udaipur.
Velaram Ghogra, BTP state president and also contesting from Dungarpur seat said, “India got independence 70 years ago. The Constitution granted Schedule 5 to be implemented for tribals. But no party has executed it. Our main agenda is implementation of Schedule five.”
A large section of tribals migrate to other parts of the country in a bid to earn livelihood. The party has contemplated to make it poll agenda and raising it in public vigorously.
“Male population has migrated to Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Delhi, leaving their female counterparts here. We have no local resources, electricity and water in the entire region,” Ghogra said who had also contested the last general election from Udaipur on Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party.
He had also unsuccessfully fought 2003 and 2008 Rajasthan Assembly polls. “Youths are educated but they are unemployed and therefore, a kind of unrest is developing. People from outside come and grab the lands of tribals. All our resources are being controlled by capitalists and it is immensely needed that our people are made aware of everything,” he added.
After split with senior socialist leader Sharad Yadav, Chhotu Bhai Vasava of Gujarat founded the BTP and contested 2017 Gujarat Assembly elections, won two seats. The growing tribal unrest could be understood with the local tribes forming a student union in Dungarpur and Banswara, namely Bhil Pradesh Vidyarthi Morcha.
They forayed into students’ union election in 2016 and since then they are winning all the posts in ten colleges across the region. The Morcha was founded with an aim to demand a separate Bhil Pradesh with areas comprising Rajsthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.
Now, the Morcha is getting support of BTP. After implementation of Schedule five, they will demand for separate Bhil Pradesh. “After implementation of the schedule five, we will seek creation of new state for tribals. In this effort we are getting support of other communities too,” Ghogra said.
The state goes to polls on December 7. (UNI)