Modi govt neglected MP’s Adivasi communities: Congress

New Delhi, May 7 (PTI) The Congress accused the BJP-led Centre on Tuesday of “neglecting” the Adivasi communities of Madhya Pradesh and alleged that the saffron party’s allocation for Adivasis in the central budget has consistently fallen short of the 8.2-per cent target set by the NITI Aayog.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh posed questions to Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of the latter’s rallies in Madhya Pradesh.

“Why has the BJP failed to improve rail connectivity in MP’s tribal districts? Why are Adivasis unwelcome in ‘Modi ka Parivar’? Why does the Modi sarkar continue to neglect migrant workers?” Ramesh asked on X.

Elaborating on what he said were “jumla (rhetoric) details”, the Congress leader said even after being in power for 10 years, the Modi government has “failed” to complete the Dahod-Indore and Chhota Udaipur-Dhar railway lines.

“These railway lines were sanctioned by the UPA government but ten years later, construction has not even begun. Better rail connectivity would bring prosperity to the relatively isolated tribal-dominated districts of Dhar and Jabhua in Madhya Pradesh but successive BJP governments in the state and at the Centre have neglected this project,” he alleged.

Can the prime minister provide an explanation for the delay of more than 10 years in these crucial railway projects, he asked.

“Is it attributable to his general callousness towards the Adivasi community?” Ramesh asked.

He also alleged that the Modi government has not just “neglected MP’s Adivasi communities, they have actively terrorised them”.

“The BJP’s allocation for Adivasis in the central budget has consistently fallen short of the 8.2 per cent target set by the NITI Aayog in 2017. Their poll promise to allocate Rs 3 lakh crore for tribal welfare in Madhya Pradesh remains unfulfilled,” the former Union minister said.

“After the PM’s rally in Jhabua, BJP workers were seen brutally beating an Adivasi youth in Betul. And last year, a disturbing video had gone viral that showed a BJP leader urinating on an Adivasi man in public,” Ramesh said.

It is clear that there is no space for the Adivasi community in “Modi ka Parivar”, he added.

The Congress is committed to tribal welfare and has guaranteed a legal status to the SC-ST sub-plan, which would require the Centre to meet the 8.2-per cent budget target, Ramesh said.

“Will the PM ever own up to his government’s mistakes and truly commit himself to Adivasi welfare?” he asked.

Ramesh further alleged that the Modi government has often overlooked the plight of India’s migrant workers.

“This disregard was especially evident during the COVID-19 pandemic when migrant workers faced immense hardships, travelling vast distances to reach their homes. Now, as voting day approaches in Khargone scheduled for Phase 4, there is a concern that approximately 20,000 migrant workers from this Lok Sabha constituency may be unable to cast their votes,” he said.

The Congress’s “Nyay Patra” (Lok Sabha poll manifesto) talks about bringing laws to regulate the employment of migrant workers and safeguard their fundamental legal rights, Ramesh said.

“Has the BJP done anything to improve the lives of migrant workers? Do they have any plans to help migrant workers exercise their right to vote?” he asked while urging the prime minister to break his “silence” on these issues.

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