NEW DELHI: The issue of Forest Rights Act (FRA) may play an important role in the upcoming Maharashtra assembly elections with livelihoods of people depending on it, points out an analysis by advocacy group Community Forest Rights-Learning and Advocacy.
The state will go to the polls on October 21 and the verdict would be declared on October 24.
The total number of assembly constituencies in Maharashtra is 288, of which 25 are reserved for scheduled tribes.
The analysis shows that 211 of the total constituencies have potential of FRA as an electoral factor.
Of these four categorisations of the assembly constituencies drawn, seven seats are of ‘critical value’, 16 of ‘high value’, 108 of ‘good value’, and 80 of ‘medium value’, it says.
The deductions are from the result of the 2014 assembly elections.
The study shows that BJP won 80 of the 211 assembly constituencies having FRA potential.
Of the seats won, three were of critical value, six of high value, 45 of good value, 26 of medium value.
While Congress won 36 of the seats with FRA potential, NCP won 37 and Shiv Sena won 42 seats, according to the analysis.
The assembly constituencies who have more than 1 lakh SC and ST voters and are eligible for recognition of rights under the FRA 2006 have been termed as ‘critical value’ constituencies by the advocacy group.
The constituencies which have been termed as ‘high value’ are those who have SC and ST voters ranging from more than 50,000 and less than 1 lakh eligible for rights recognition under the FRA.
“If parties address FRA as an election issue, it can influence the election margin. This is because over 70 per cent of the total seats have FRA potential,” said Tushar Dash, independent researcher and contributor to the analysis.
FRA remains an important issue of the state with poor implementation in many areas and rights of people remain pending under the Act, according to the analysis.
It points towards the political importance of FRA and how its proper implementation would benefit potential forest rights holders would benefit from it. This includes both individual forest rights and community forest rights.
The analysis is based on the election commission's data on 2014 assembly constituency results and the assembly-wise FRA potential based on census data.
The analysis is also drawn from the electoral analysis released by the advocacy group during the general elections.