Issues not addressed by successive govts, rue Gujarat tribals

Gujarat

Tribals in the eastern part of Gujarat feel that both BJP and Congress have failed to address their issues even after 52 years of formation of the state.

The tribal voters spread over 12 districts of eastern Gujarat have sway over around 30 seats out of which 27 have been marked as Scheduled Tribes seats after the new

delimitation orders.

For the last many years, Congress has maintained its upper hand in winning these seats but BJP is trying hard to woo the tribal voters and have succeeded to some extent too.

In the 2007 elections, Congress got 14, BJP 11 and JD (U) one of the total 26 seats. One tribal seat has increased in the state after delimitation. With 14 per cent tribal

population in the state, these seats are crucial for any party to win elections comfortably.

Tribal activists feel that successive governments have failed to understand the issues of the community and address them in a time-bound manner.

"Unfortunately, political parties have been unable to solve the land and forest problems faced by the tribal community. Our problems can be addressed only by a government formed by tribals," state chief of Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Mahasangh Lalubhai Vasava told PTI.

Echoing similar views, founder of Bhasha Research Centre and Adivasi Academy Ganesh Devy said political parties have failed to understand the tribal culture in the state.

The former professor of English at M S University said that close to 14 per cent of the state population comprises tribal community and there is not a single university for students from these communities to study in tribal districts.

"There is not a single railway line connecting the eastern belt from Banaskantha, Sabarkantha to Dangs," Devy rued.

Lunavada-based tribal activist Kanjibhai Patel said while both the political parties have taken the tribal community for a ride, the state government's slow progress in implementation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006 has alienated the tribal

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