Bhubaneswar: The Governing Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has played tribal card to attack the BJP-led Union Government over non-inclusion of 169 communities into Odisha ST List.
Addressing a press meet here today, former MP and party spokesperson Pradeep Majhi said that the BJD Government led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has been working for the development and welfare of tribals in Odisha.
But, unfortunately, the BJP-led Centre has always neglected the tribal communities of Odisha. Their approach has been anti-tribal, anti-poor and anti-Odisha, he alleged.
The State Government has provided 5 lakh tribal girl children with hostels, Special Development Councils (SDCs) have been constituted in nine tribal-dominated districts of Odisha covering 117 Blocks, 2022 GPs, 18687 villages and 14.05 lakh ST households.
“However, the BJP-led Centre has always neglected the tribals. Why do I say so? About 169 proposals have been recommended by the Odisha Government for inclusion of 169 communities in the ST list of Odisha. But, despite repeated letters sent by the CM and the Odisha Government, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs is not including them in the ST list and its pending,” said Majhi.
On 16th September, 2022, Shri Patnaik requested the Union Minister of Tribal Affairs to consider the pending proposals. Many communities are awaiting approval for inclusion in ST list of Odisha as the Centre has been delaying their inclusion.
In April, 2022, during a meeting with officials of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, the Odisha Government had again placed the demand but the BJP-led Centre was yet to take any action on this, he pointed out.
Despite the CM fighting for the rights of these communities for inclusion in the ST list, the BJP led Centre with its anti-tribal approach has been thwarting all efforts, Shri Majhi said.
The tribal leader further said, “On behalf of Biju Janata Dal, we demand that these 169 proposals for inclusion in ST list be immediately approved and included in the ST list of Odisha.”
The BJD is fighting for the rights of the tribals while the BJP only sheds crocodile tears and has no heart for the tribals and those communities who are awaiting to be included in the ST list, he added.
“We the BJD demand that immediate steps be taken by the BJP led Centre to include these 169 communities into the ST list failing which the BJD and the tribal communities of Odisha will be forced to come to the streets and raise our voice against the ill-treatment, neglect and constant disregard for the tribals in Odisha and for the 169 communities awaiting ST list inclusion in Odisha,” warned Shri Majhi.
Reacting on this allegation, BJP spokesperson Dillip Mohanty said, “Earlier Majhi had raised several demands of tribals and termed the CM as anti-tribal. Are all the issues he has raised resolved? If not, let Majhi reply to it.”
The allegation made by the BJD is baseless as the state government has not followed the process for inclusion of new communities under the ST list, he stated.