BJP keeps its promise to Adivasi cause

BJP candidate Soyam Bapu Rao from Adilabad (ST) Lok Sabha constituency addressing Adivasis at Keslapur in Adilabad district.

BJP candidate Soyam Bapu Rao from Adilabad (ST) Lok Sabha constituency addressing Adivasis at Keslapur in Adilabad district.  

Nominates two aboriginal and two Lambada candidates from three Assembly and one LS seats

By fielding Adivasi leader Soyam Bapu Rao from Adilabad (ST) Parliamentary constituency, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is understood to have kept its promise of supporting the cause of Adivasis. In the process, it has also broken a tradition of sorts among political parties of nominating two aboriginal and two Lambada candidates from three Assembly and one Lok Sabha seat reserved for Scheduled Tribes in the erstwhile Adilabad district.

On April 8, 2018, when the Adivasi movement to remove Lambada tribe from the list of STs was at its peak, the BJP State president had promised support to the cause at a public meeting at Shekuguda hamlet in Talamadugu mandal. As elections were a year away at that time, he had not talked of the selection of candidates. The Adilabad (ST) Parliamentary constituency encompasses Boath, Khanapur and Asifabad Assembly segments, all reserved for STs. It has been a tradition followed by the political parties to field two candidates from aboriginal and Lambada tribes each from these four constituencies.

In the recently-held Assembly elections, the TRS had fielded two Lambada candidates from Boath and Khanapur and an Adivasi from Asifabad. It is now understood to have cleared the candidature of G. Nagesh, an Adivasi, for the Lok Sabha seat. The Congress too has fielded Lambadas from Khanpur and Adilabad Lok Sabha now, while nominating Adivasis from Boath and Asifabad.

During the Adivasi movement, this came under severe criticism from the leadership of aboriginal people who found it an ill-balanced approach to represent the two sections. The argument of the Adivasis that the Lambada tribe was getting more than its fair share of nominations was based on population and voter strength of both the segments.

The tribal population is close to five lakh of the total population of over 27 lakh in the erstwhile Adilabad district. Independent estimates put the Adivasi voter strength at three lakh and that of Lambada voters at one lakh.

“This ratio shows that aboriginal candidates should be fielded from three seats and Lambada from one,” pointed out Purka Bapu Rao, a leader of Adivasi Hakkula Porata Samiti, better known as Tudum Debba, an organisation of ethnic tribes. “The BJP has done it this time and we are happy for it,” he added. The party had fielded Adivasi candidates from Boath and Khanapur Assembly constituencies and a Lambada from Asifabad seat in the last elections and all three did not record a performance worth mentioning. Soyam Bapu Rao himself was Congress party candidate from Boath and lost to TRS leader Rathod Bapu Rao, a Lambada.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 2:25:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/bjp-keeps-its-promise-to-adivasi-cause/article26594320.ece

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