Party’s leaders say that the outreach programme includes meeting all tribal families to know their worries.
New Delhi: Two years ahead of the Assembly elections, the BJP has started its outreach programme to reclaim tribal voters in Jharkhand. The party workers and top leaders are going from village to village to make people aware of the Centre’s schemes that the party has rolled out over the years for the uplift of the tribal community.
Sources privy to the development said that the party wants to reclaim its lost base among tribal voters by setting out a campaign like this. The party’s leaders say that the outreach programme includes meeting all tribal families to know their worries.
“Our pursuit is to uplift them not only politically but socially too, so that the community gets stronger and strengthens Jharkhand,” a party leader said.
If the party leaders are to be believed, the party organised a first-ever separate rally of 50,000 tribals on 5 June. The rally had the participation of all 32 tribes in addition to some minor tribes. A leader said, “When we first used to go to Mandar, where the Assembly bypolls were conducted this week, people would say, see the non-tribal party (BJP), but now in the villages around, there has been considerable support for the BJP as well,” the leader said.
Showing the clear shift in Scheduled Tribes seats, out of the 11 ST seats it had won in 2014, the party lost 9 seats, bringing the BJP down to wining just two seats. The party believes that alienation of tribals was a major factor for its loss in the 2019 Assembly polls. The state has 28 ST seats. JMM and Congress has 19 and 6 seats respectively.
Droupadi Murmu, who comes from a tribal community, being nominated as the President candidate by the BJP also indicates that the party’s nationwide focus is going to woo and drum up support from tribal voters. Talking to The Sunday Guardian, BJP Jharkhand state unit president, Deepak Prakash, said, “Our main aim is to connect tribes, we cannot talk about development without developing the tribal community in Jharkhand; we can’t talk about progress without setting them up for bigger roles. And their progress will only come when we connect them with ourselves. In Jharkhand, a big chunk of population is of tribes, so only when they move forward and take care of spreading their own culture, will they make Jharkhand progressive and the country strong.”
The state has around 25% tribal population. In the meantime, the party is also pushing against the ruling JMM which has a bigger political capital among tribals of the state. In a rally on 5 June, J.P. Nadda had described Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren as a symbol of corruption.
The party thinks that its decreasing popularity among tribals is a result of a plot of the JMM, and blames Chief Minister Hemant Soren of depriving tribals of several welfare schemes which PM Modi has launched. Talking to The Sunday Guardian, JMM spokesperson Suprio Bhattacharya said, “All the allegations are baseless.”