BJP president Amit Shah on Sunday projected his party as the champion of tribals, saying the Narendra Modi government has raised budgetary allocation for their welfare to Rs 50,000 crore from Rs 30,700 crore made during by the Congress-led UPA dispensation.
Addressing the valedictory session of the national convention of the BJP’s ST Morcha here, Shah lashed out at the previous UPA government accusing it of having neglected the tribal people.
Noting that a separate ministry for tribal affairs was started by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, the BJP chief said the party-led government has floated the District Mineral Foundation (DMF) with huge funds for the development and welfare of tribals living in mineral-rich areas.
The funds under the DMF are being utilised by various states where mining activities are affecting the people and environment, he said.
Shah’s visit to this seaside pilgrim town is seen as an exercise to woo tribals, who constitute around one fourth of Odisha’s population, ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha and state Assembly elections.
This was the BJP chief’s second visit in five days as he had held a rally in Salepur in Cuttack district on January 29.
The BJP’s love and respect for tribals is evident from the fact that the party has the maximum number of tribal MPs in Lok Sabha. Of the 32 tribal members in the lower house of Parliament, 28 belong to the BJP, he said.
The BJP president also slammed the BJD government in Odisha accusing it of having neglected the tribals in the state and failing to utilise the DMF funds for the welfare and development of people in areas hit by mining activities.
“The BJD government is like a fused transformer. It needs to be changed for the state’s progress,” he said.