BHOPAL: Three days back a political controversy erupted in Congress-ruled Madhya Pradesh, after one of the ally legislators -- the lone Samajwadi Party MLA Rajesh Shukla had made major allegations against ministers of the Kamal Nath government.
Now, the Kamal Nath government is under attack from its own MLA, Dr Hiralal Alawa, who has accused the state government of betraying the cause of tribals, who constitute 21% of state’s population.
The doctor-turned-tribal politician who represents the Manawar assembly seat of Dhar district has accused the Congress government of betraying the interests of tribals.
“We joined hands with the Congress out of the fervent hope that change of regime in the state will deliver a positive outcome for tribal welfare and development. But nine months since the Kamal Nath government came to power, all major issues pertaining to tribals remain unaddressed. Till date the Tribes Advisory Council (TAC) hasn’t been constituted by the state government, then how will the state government spend money for tribal development, will it shell funds out of its whims and fancies,” questioned Alawa.
“Migration due to joblessness still remains a major issue in tribal-dominated districts, particularly in West MP. Eight tribals from Jhabua and Alirajpur districts recently died in a wall collapse in Gujarat, where they had migrated for work. The state government is giving rights to private contractors/entities for Dolomite, Rock Phosphate and Sand mining in our region. It could have instead been given to local tribal groups and bodies to create more jobs on the ground."
"I’m a ruling Congress MLA, but can’t even help lower rung state government employees in my constituency on transfer and posting related issues. About addressing the development concerns of my constituency, nearly all ministers of Kamal Nath government, excepting urban development and housing minister Jaivdardhan Singh, don’t even take my phone calls,” said Alawa, one of the founder members of Jai Adivasi Yuva Shakti (JAYS) – an organization of young tribals in West MP.
According to Alawa, who won the 2018 assembly elections from Manawar seat on Congress symbol, a tribal Mahapanchayat has been convened in Jhabua on September 8, to discuss various issues confronting tribal population.
“At the Mahapanchayat, the JAYS will demand that its candidate be fielded by the Congress in the by-election to Jhabua assembly seat (which has to be held before December). If the Congress doesn’t accept our demand, we’ll explore other option, including JAYS supported candidate contesting either on BJP symbol or even as an independent candidate,” said Alawa.
Tribal rights activist and Vyapam-scam whistleblower Dr Anand Rai, who too will participate in the September 8 Tribal Mahapanchayat in Jhabua, was also critical of the Kamal Nath government.
“The Tribes Advisory Council (TAC) envisaged under the Fifth Schedule of Constitution is essential for prudent utilization of tribal sub-plan funds allocated by the Central Government annually. But just like the previous government, the Kamal Nath government too doesn’t seem interested in constituting an effective TAC with mainstream and young tribals on board for proper development of 89 tribal dominated blocks of the state,” said Rai.
Importantly, the JAYS have a significant influence in tribal-dominated West MP districts of Barwani, Dhar, Jhabua, Alirajpur and Khargone.
It had played an important role in Congress’ success in tribal-dominated districts in the 2018 assembly polls.