A new political outfit — formed by tribal leaders following a split in the Bharatiya Tribal Party — has thrown the gauntlet to the BJP and the Congress in Rajasthan’s tribal belt, forcing senior leaders of the two national parties to make frequent visits in their attempts to shore up support ahead of the assembly polls.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, among others, have made several visits to the tribal region in an attempt to solidify their parties’ support bases.
Assembly elections in Rajasthan are due later this year.
On Monday, Modi will visit Chittorgarh district, which has a sizable tribal population, and address a public rally.
Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Rajasthan Assembly Satish Poonia laid focus on the region and made regular visits to the tribal areas during his tenure as the BJP’s state unit chief.
His successor CP Joshi, a Brahmin face, is the party’s Lok Sabha MP from Chittorgarh.
Banswara, Dungarpur and Pratapgarh are fully tribal districts while Udaipur, Rajsamand, Chittorgarh, Sirohi, Pali are partly tribal areas in the state’s southeast.
The new outfit — the Bharatiya Adivasi Party — is managed by youngsters, similar to the Gujarat-based Bharatiya Tribal Party, which won two seats in the 2018 assembly elections.
Its formation caused a complete split in the Bharatiya Tribal Party, with most supporters and leaders jumping ship to the new outfit. The Bharatiya Adivasi Party’s formation was announced in September by MLAs Rajkumar Roat and Ramprasad Dindor — who won the 2018 polls on a Bharatiya Tribal Party ticket.
Only a few leaders, including state unit chief Velaram Ghoghra, have remained with the Bharatiya Tribal Party.
The new outfit is already drawing huge crowds of tribal people to its meetings, reflecting its influence in the region.
Local BJP leaders also believe that the Bharatiya Adivasi Party is now the leading force in the tribal belt.
With inputs from News18