Cong, BJP vie to win tribal support in Bastar

With 11 reserved for the Scheduled Tribe, the ruling Congress to is vying for the support of adivasis to remain with the party.

Published: 01st June 2023 08:52 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st June 2023 08:52 AM   |  A+A-


Image used for representational purposes (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

RAIPUR:  Tribal-dominated Bastar in south Chhattisgarh apparently remains a real challenge for the opposition BJP which does not have a single legislator in the 12 assembly seats in the region.

The BJP has consequently taken the lead, with the party’s Chhattisgarh in-charge Om Mathur starting his whirlwind four-day tour of Bastar by chopper to boost party leaders and cadres. With barely five months remaining for the Assembly polls, he will cover all seven districts and review the party’s position in all 12 seats of Bastar.

The myth prevailing is that the gateway to power in Chhattisgarh is via the tribal-dominated Bastar. With 11 reserved for the Scheduled Tribe, the ruling Congress to is vying for the support of Adivasis to remain with the party.

“When I can visit Bastar in the span of one month, why can’t the party office bearers of the district and core committee members dedicate themselves towards work and extensive public interaction at the booth levels of their respective areas? My main focus at present is to strengthen the organisation and ensure BJP forms a government with a majority,” said Mathur who was previously among the chief strategists for the polls in Gujarat and UP.

Besides the Centre’s achievement under PM Modi in nine years, the BJP is enumerating various development initiatives and progress witnessed in the state during the earlier Raman Singh regime. The saffron party alleged there is an increase in Maoist terror and a rise in religious conversion under the Congress's rule.

The Congress too has plans to organise a zonal meet of senior party leaders in Bastar on June 2. The occasion will be attended by the AICC in-charge for Chhattisgarh Kumari Selja, chief minister Bhupesh Baghel, PCC president Mohand Markam, Speaker Charandas Mahant, all present and former MPs and MLAs, among others. The ruling party will strive to maintain the gain secured across Bastar in the 2018 polls to continue.

“Our development politics have befitted and empowered tribal communities,” said Baghel countering BJP’s allegations. The Congress though has informally launched its poll campaign in Bastar by holding a mega show attended by the party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi. She addressed a public rally in Jagdalpur on April 13 earlier this year.

Bastar is a region where the women voters with little over 51% outnumber men.  In several pockets of the conflict zone, the outlawed CPI (Maoist) also had a presence for the past three decades. Owing to the Maoists’ perceived threat, the Election Commission (EC) has always been holding the Chhattisgarh Assembly polls to a 90-member House in two phases with the insurgency-hit constituencies being covered in the first.

Since the last three Assembly polls, there has been an increase in the voters’ turn-out by 15-20% in those seats believed to have a strong presence of rebels. The voting in these areas was always scheduled early at 7 am and culminated at 3 pm. 


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