Pradeep Pattanayak

The Odisha units of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP ) and the Congress on Thursday came down heavily on the BJD over its MP Sasmit Patra's statements on tribals in the Parliament. 

While the BJP said the BJD is getting afraid of how the tribal voters played a crucial role in the election results in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, the Congress demanded the government should withdraw its decision on the tribal land transfer regulation. 

“If you are concerned about the development of tribal people, then implement the PESA Act in the state. In fact, the state government fears that their tribal votes may get diverted to us,” said Congress leader, Tara Prasad Bahinipati. 

The BJP alleged that BJD is resorting to double standards after the saffron party's resounding victories in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. In Odisha, while it is keen on bringing an anti-tribal policy, in the centre, it is shedding crocodile tears, the BJP alleged.
“In Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, tribal people have voted us to power. This is the reason why they are afraid of us and raising such issues in the Parliament. This government is an anti-tribal government. It has never ever thought about the tribal people,” alleged Nityanand Gond, BJP MLA. 

Responding to the statements made by the BJP and the Congress, BJD MLA Debesh Acharya said, “It has nothing to do with political mileage. If my memory serves me right, our Chief Minister demanded the inclusion of the Sambalpuri Kosali language in the eighth schedule of the Constitution. But the central government is yet to give official status to the language.”

Also Read: Will BJP adopt ‘MP formula' in Odisha?

As the BJP has won over 50 percent of the seats in the tribal belts in the three states and has made Droupadi Murmu the President of India, it is seen that the saffron party is in an advantageous position to get tribal votes. In this respect, the BJD is said to be on the back foot for its decision on tribal land transfer law. 

According to political analysts, the BJD fears that its tribal votes may get divided as it happened in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. 

“In Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh, the polarisation of tribal votes in favour of BJP was witnessed. Since Droupadi Murmu was made the President of India, it is being seen that tribal people have started leaning towards the BJP,” said Akshaya Sahu, a political analyst.

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