BHOPAL: It was Prime Minister Narendra Modi Vs Congress national general secretary Priyanka Gandhi in the land of Bheel, Bhilala and Patliya tribals in Madhya Pradesh’s Malwa-Nimar region.
Six days before eight seats in west MP goes to polls in the last phase of Lok Sabha elections, the two leaders addressed crowded rallies in Ratlam town.
PM Modi said that till the time he and BJP are there the rights of tribals will never be compromised.
He reminded the gathering that it was during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government that a separate ministry for tribals was constituted. In the communally sensitive Ratlam town, the PM also raised the issue of Hindu terror and how the previous UPA government had put innocent people behind bars.
On her maiden trip to MP as a Congress politician, Priyanka Gandhi addressed a rally in Ratlam town just a few hours after PM Modi.
Eyeing the large chunk of tribal votes in the eight seats, Priyanka described any attack on the tribal population as an assault on the soul of India.
While recounting her childhood days with grandmother and then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the Congress national general secretary said, “When we were kids, my grandmother Indiraji showed us the mementoes and traditional gifts given by tribals. She taught us about the rich culture of tribals and how they conserve the forests, land and animals.”
She also accused the Modi government of compromising on the Land Acquisition Act brought during the UPA regime.
“When it comes to tribals, the PM doesn’t have noble intentions.” Using the ‘Tapaswi PM’ barb, Priyanka attacked Modi over his silence on his failed promises for youths, farmers, tribals and women.
“Why is he silent on failure to render fair prices to farmers for their agricultural produce, supply them adequate seeds and fertilizers and on the issue of 12,000 farmers’ suicides?”
The eights seats of Malwa-Nimar (West MP) region, including Indore, Dhar-ST, Khargone-ST, Khandwa, Ratlam-ST, Dewas, Mandsaur and Ujjain go to polls in the last phase. All of them were won by BJP in 2014, but Congress wrested Ratlam seat in 2015 bypoll.