RAIPUR: The Chhattisgarh unit of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Tuesday in an apparent political masterstroke took a decision to have a tribal face for the party's chief ministerial post.
Amid the prevailing perception that the scheduled tribe (ST) with around 32 per cent of the 2.25 crore population in Chhattisgarh holds the key to the state assembly, all political parties are seen desperate to forge their presence and instigate a major influence among the tribal voters.
The state has 29 of the 90 constituencies reserved for the ST.
"The formal announcement would be made on October 10 in the presence of state party incharge and a cabinet minister in Delhi Gopal Rai and member of parliament Sanjay Singh", the AAP's chief spokesperson Uchit Sharma told the Express.
AAP is contesting all 90 seats in the state. After its 10-day long Jhadu Chalao-Bhrastachar Bhagao across the 45 assembly segments, a consensus has emerged within the party to have a tribal candidate for the CM post. "AAP pledges to safeguard the interests of 72 lakh Adivasis of the state. So far they have always been deceived and used only as vote bank by both the ruling and opposition", Sharma said.
Tribals once cited as a traditional supporter for Congress party, the ruling BJP under the leadership of Raman Singh has made inroads in tribal votes after the creation of the Chhattisgarh as a separate state in November 2000.
The political analysts felt the AAP is yet to prove themselves in the tribal belts to mobilise adivasi support and declaring "selecting a tribal as CM face could be their trump card". Both the BJP and the Congress shrug-off the presence of AAP in poll fray as "insignificant" and will not have any impact by their declaration on their poll prospect.
Dr Somnath, Devlal Narethi, Soni Sori, Komal Upendi are among those tribal leaders of AAP figuring as the front-runner for the AAP chief ministerial candidate.