R'than: BTP's rise put BJP, Cong in a tight situation

The party has accused both the major parties of suppressing the tribals and taking their land by force not doing anything for livelihood for the tribal population. (DH Photo)

The emergence of Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) in Rajasthan, which recently won two seats in the recent assembly elections has changed the poll dynamics in tribal-dominated districts bordering Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.

In the southern belt of Rajasthan, (Udaipur, Banswara and Dungarpur districts), dominated by sizable tribal population, the voters have found a new voice and a break from the conventional parties. After gaining popularity in assembly polls, Bharatiya Tribal Party, which has its roots in Gujarat has put the two mainstream parties of Rajasthan in a tough situation.

So far BTP has announced its candidates from four Lok Sabha constituencies Udaipur, Chittorgarh, Banswara-Dungarpur and Jodhpur. In assembly polls, their candidates contested from 11 segments and won two seats- Dungarpur district’s Chorasi and Sagwara seats. In the third seat, Aspur in Udaipur, the party lost by a very slim margin.

The BTP was established in 2017 ahead of the Gujarat Assembly election by former Janata Dal (United) MLA Chhotubhai Vasava. Before venturing out in Rajasthan, the party won two seats in an alliance with Congress in Gujarat.  

 Demand for a Bhil Pradesh 

The party is thriving on the popular sentiment that mainstream political parties have failed to take adequate measures for administration as mandated by the Constitution.  It has accused both the major parties of suppressing the tribals and taking their land by force not doing anything for livelihood for the tribal population.

The party has raised the demand for statehood for the tribal population with the formation of “Bhil Pradesh” by carving out tribal-dominated areas of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. "Both Congress and BJP have befooled tribals and nothing concrete has been done for their welfare. Our demand is to form a separate state for Tribals so that they share the majority and the issues are addressed. In last few decades people of the region were forced to migrate to other States because the local resources were being destroyed", said BTP State president, Velaram Goghra.

When asked how many seats he is expecting in upcoming polls, Goghra added, "We share a huge support of tribal population undoubtedly. In a recent conclave on tribal issues in Banswara, as many as 10, 000 participants came. Also after winning two seats, we have a confidence boost for Lok Sabha polls. As far as youth is concerned we enjoy support of students' group Bhil Vidhyarthi Morcha which won a substantial number of seats in Dungarpur colleges".

Dent to Congress 

The political experts believe the emergence of the tribal party may not assure them a seat in the upcoming polls but will make a dent to Congress party. It became evident after Congress President Rahul Gandhi started his Rajasthan tour from Banswara, keeping tribal issues on the priority. Earlier Congress tried to make a pre-poll alliance with BTP, but the attempts failed.


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