Home Business BJP Tries To Restore ST Support Base By Choosing A Tribal Cm In Chhattisgarh | Arabian Weekly

BJP Tries To Restore ST Support Base By Choosing A Tribal Cm In Chhattisgarh | Arabian Weekly

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BJP Tries To Restore ST Support Base By Choosing A Tribal Cm In Chhattisgarh | Arabian Weekly

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By Dr. Gyan Pathak

The shock that BJP had to suffer in Karnataka Vidhan Sabha election in May 2023 is not yet over when it was not able to win even a single seat reserved for Scheduled Tribe (ST), though the party somehow made inroads to a great extent in the November 2023 Vidhan Sabha election in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan by winning 57 out of 101 ST seats, with a winning rate of only 56 per cent. It is still much less than the winning rate of Lok Sabha seats in 2019, when the party had won 31 out of 47 seats in the country with a winning rate of 66 per cent.

The significance of the BJP’s choosing a tribal Chief Minister Vishnu Deo Sai in Chhattisgarh is obvious, which shows the party’s changing strategy for the Lok Sabha election 2024, when the BJP and the PM Narendra Modi will be seeking for their third term. By choosing a tribal Chief Minister the party does not only tries to woo the tribal voters across the country, but also to restore its support base among the tribal communities that it has lost since 2019, which was more pronounced in Karnataka election in May 2023.

As for Chhattisgarh, the where tribal population is about 32 per cent, and in 2019 Lok Sabha election, the BJP was able to win 9 out of 11 seats, making a tribal the chief minister of the state is a strategic decision. However, it should be noted that the issues that alienated the tribal community from the Congress were related to protection of their land and forest rights in which they felt that Congress did not support them. Since the issues related to their rights on land and forests are also being systematically guillotined by the Centre through bringing legislations in the name of development, merely making a tribal CM will not help the BJP much in removing their fear that the party is snatching their resources and giving them to their Corporate friends. Tribal community may not be happy until their rights on land and forests are restored.

However the BJP believes it would be able to consolidate its support base among tribal communities by just resorting to symbolism of making a tribal the CM of the state. It forgets that it had brought a tribal woman president of India, but such symbolism did not work in the Karnataka election where it could not win even a single out of 15 ST seats.

The BJP thinks that making a tribal chief minister in Chhattisgarh would also help the party to win more seats in the neighbouring states, such as in Jharkhand and Odisha also. Such a hope is based on the election results in Chhattisgarh because by giving prominence to Vishnu Deo it could win all the 14 seats reserved for ST in Surguja district.

Though the party has made departure from relying a non-tribal chief minister, such as Raman Singh who led the state as Chief Minister for 15 years before Congress came to power in 2018, it may not be beneficial in the states like Jharkhand where a tribal leader Babulal Marandi is being already given prominence over a non-tribal former CM Raghubar Das. BJP can’t take its traditions non-tribal support base for granted in the fast changing scenario in which OBC politics is also likely to play a major role.

However, in identity politics BJP’s decision to make a tribal chief minister will prove crucial for the BJP, but the party would need a strong counter narrative as against the narrative of the Congress and the INDIA alliance that the BJP is anti-tribal and pro-upper caste, though this move aims to improve the BJP’s image among tribal communities and project them as inclusive.

Sai’s appointment also fills a leadership vacuum in the BJP’s Chhattisgarh unit after Raman Singh, the former chief minister, stepped down after serving for three consecutive terms. Sai’s experience and stature within the party make him a well-respected leader who can unify the state unit.

Sai’s appointment is seen as a symbolic gesture of empowerment for tribal communities in the state and also across the country. It sends a message to tribal youth that they can aspire to the highest positions in government and politics.

The BJP has promised to focus on the development of tribal areas in Chhattisgarh under Sai’s leadership. This includes improving access to education, healthcare, and infrastructure in these areas. BJP aims to project this move to convey that the party would take care of tribal education, healthcare, and welfare across the country.

The appointment of a tribal leader may also help to address some of the grievances of tribal communities, such as land alienation and displacement. Sai’s understanding of tribal issues and his commitment to their development could lead to positive changes in the lives of tribal people in Chhattisgarh.

Overall, the BJP’s decision to choose a tribal Chief Minister in Chhattisgarh is a strategic move designed to achieve several political, social, and economic objectives. It remains to be seen whether this move will be successful in the long term in the state and across the country. (IPA Service)

The post BJP Tries To Restore ST Support Base By Choosing A Tribal Cm In Chhattisgarh first appeared on Latest India news, analysis and reports on IPA Newspack.

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