With the Assembly elections in Rajasthan just over one-and-a-half years away, the principal Opposition BJP has started focusing on the state’s eastern part, a region where it had suffered massive losses in the 2018 polls that led to the Congress coming to power.
On Saturday, BJP president JP Nadda visited Sawai Madhopur district in eastern Rajasthan to attend a programme involving prominent people from the Scheduled Tribe (ST) community, which was organised by the state party’s ST Morcha.
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The eastern Rajasthan districts, including Bharatpur, Sawai Madhopur, Dholpur, Karauli and Dausa, have high concentration of SC and ST populations.
“The focus of the visit of the BJP national president is on eastern Rajasthan. This is the first time that a BJP national president has come to Rajasthan to directly reach out to the ST community. Sixteen Assembly seats from Bharatpur, Dausa and Sawai Madhopur are being specifically targeted as these have high Meena (tribe) population. Those from the tribal community who are not party workers but identify with the BJP ideology have also been invited,” Jitendra Meena, head of the Rajasthan BJP ST Morcha, had then told The Indian Express, adding that the state BJP will also undertake introspection to ascertain why the party lost a majority of seats from this region in the previous Assembly polls.
In 2018, the BJP could win only one seat in the eastern Rajasthan districts, which together account for 24 Assembly constituencies, of which there are 10 constituencies reserved for the SC and ST candidates. The BJP lost all these reserved seats. The Congress, on the other hand, swept the region, winning 17 seats in its five districts. The BJP had also fared poorly in several other districts in eastern and south-eastern Rajasthan, that included Alwar and Tonk.
Addressing the Sawai Madhopur event, Nadda sought to remind the gathering about the saffron party’s role in ensuring development of tribals in the state and the country.
“The Congress ruled from 1947 to 1998 and again from 2004…But you had to wait for the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government to get a ministry for tribals. You will have to understand which party and which leader care for tribals,” the BJP chief said.
Nadda mentioned tribal heroes such as Birsa Munda, and highlighted the role of Rajasthan’s Bheel community in helping Maharana Pratap during his battles with Mughal emperor Akbar.
Influential ST leaders from the region, including Dausa MP Jaskaur Meena and BJP Rajya Sabha MP Kirodi Lal Meena, were present at the event along with state party president Satish Poonia and other senior leaders. Jaskaur and Kirodi attended the function together despite having a strained relationship.
Training his guns on the Congress over its “dynasty politics”, Nadda said such “dynastic parties” are a “threat” to Indian democracy. “There is nothing Indian or National or Congress in it (Indian National Congress). It is a party of a family, and of a brother and a sister,” he said.
Nadda also termed several other parties as “dynastic” outfits, including the Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, National Conference, People’s Democratic Party, Biju Janata Dal, YSR Congress, Shiv Sena and NCP.
“Not many people know that there is a high tribal population in Jammu and Kashmir. But in Independent India, not even one Lok Sabha or Assembly seat was reserved for tribal brothers (in J&K). Today, Article 370 has been abolished due to the will power of Modi ji and the strategy of Amit Shah ji. Now delimitation is taking place, which is at its last stage after which tribal brothers from Jammu and Kashmir will win and come to the Lok Sabha and the Assembly,” the BJP president said.
Nadda also attacked the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government, accusing it of being allegedly unable to control the law and order situation in Rajasthan.
The Gehlot government recently brought The Rajasthan State Scheduled Castes And Scheduled Tribes Development Fund (Planning, Allocation And Utilization Of Financial Resources) Bill, 2022 before the Assembly. The Bill, which was passed by the House, earmarks special funds for the Scheduled Castes Development Fund (SCDF) and the Scheduled Tribes Development Fund (STDF). It is being seen as part of the Congress’s bid to retain its influence over its SC/ST support base, which was instrumental in helping the party defeat the then incumbent BJP in the 2018 polls.
Source: india Express