Dec 10, 2008 at 05:12pm IST

BJP wins tribal voters' heart in Chhattisgarh

Raipur: Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) made a clean sweep in the tribal belt of Chhattisgarh by winning 11 out of the 12 seats in Bastar. In this trouble-torn Maoist heartland and the home of the counter insurgency movement Salwa Judum, it was the tribal vote that proved decisive as the north and the central parts were almost evenly poised.

Though many think that the boycott call given by the Maoist helped BJP in winning but Raman Singh thinks it is development.

“People have voted for development,” says Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh.

He who hails from Bastar shall now rule from Raipur but ironically the person who is the face of the Salwa Judum movement lost.

“Could not convice Mahendra Karma,” says Congress leader Chhattisgarh Ajit Jogi.

But the fact remains that Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its affiliates have been very active in the tribal belt for the past ten years running schools like the ‘Vanvasi kalyan ashram’, Sangh Parivar affiliates also spearhead re-conversion movements like the ‘Ghar Wapasi’ programme.

“The RSS used the structure of the Salwa Judum camps for their ideological campaigning,” says CPI leader Dharmendra Mohapatra.

“The state machinery definitely has a role to play in this,” says PUCL activist Rajendra Syal.

It is not Chhattisgarh alone where Congress have reasons to worry. From Gujarat to Jharkhand, tribal India is increasingly turning saffron.

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