UPSC Practice recommends Odisha’s political chess game over tribal votes.
An engaging political chess game is building up for 2024 with tribal voters at the centre.
When PM Narendra Modi delivered his victory speech after BJP’s handsome win in the three northeastern states recently, a key takeaway was the national party breaching social barriers to forge new grounds. He even cited the Gujarat Assembly election results to point at the BJP making inroads into tribal regions of that state. Focused tribal outreach with an eye on capturing the vote base has been a hallmark of Modi government 2.0. Droupadi Murmu’s elevation as president has been a strong and calculated step towards winning the confidence of tribal communities and setting the right narrative ahead of the 2024 elections. The tribal thrust is also reflected in this year’s Union Budget, with Rs 15,000 crore allotted for the PM Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG) Mission. The initiative is significant for Odisha, home to the highest number of PVTGs and over 9% of the country’s tribal population. The BJP will look forward to reaping political capital and consolidating its position—it had won eight Lok Sabha seats in Odisha, six of them from key tribal regions.
Yet, if politics is about perception, the saffron party’s road is not so smooth. One party has remained heads and shoulders ahead of BJP in the game. The Naveen Patnaik-led Biju Janata Dal was an early mover throwing its weight behind Murmu’s nomination and is now out to outmanoeuvre BJP. The state budget allocated a hefty Rs 4,651 crore to the scheduled tribes and scheduled castes, minorities and other backward classes department. Out of the Rs 38,437 crore projected for schematic development of STs and SCs across departments, the tribal sub-component alone stands at Rs 21,950 crore. The BJD government has even set aside Rs 500 crore for a new scheme on the livelihood of tribal youth under the Mukhyamantri Janajati Jeebika Mission, which aims to cover 14.5 lakh households in phases. Odisha even has a Mukhya Mantri Yojana to counter the Centre’s Pradhan Mantri scheme. Also, by announcing Rs 2,800 crore for the Phase II implementation of the Odisha Millet Mission to benefit tribal districts, the BJD had already taken advantage.
As he seeks to neutralise the BJP in tribal-dominated districts, the BJD boss has been on a touring spree, unfurling new projects and sops. An engaging political chess game is building up for 2024 with tribal voters at the centre.
Courtesy: The New Indian Express – Editorials