Will Rahul’s promises to Adivasis fetch votes for Congress?

Congress party’s former president Rahul Gandhi has promised to scrap the rivers interlinking project in Gujarat, provide free health services and education.

Though these issues are deeply touching the bottom of the pyramid, the big question for Rahul and the party is, will these promises bring votes for their candidates and win more seats than the 2012 and 2017 Assembly elections.

Rahul Gandhi is on a day’s visit to Gujarat on Tuesday. While addressing Adivasi Satyagrah rally in Dahod, he said tribals have rights on the natural resources, and development should not be at the cost of their existence and livelihood.

He promised that if the Congress comes to power in the state it will scrap the Par- Tapi- Narmada interlinking project, which is being opposed by tribals from Valsad, Navsari, Tapi and Surat districts.

Reminding that during the BJP regime, he said that the privatisation has grown by leaps and bounds in social sectors like education and health sectors, this has become a burden for some parents and families. Rahul promised to give free health and education in the state, as the party did in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.

In an effort to expose the BJP’s failure in tackling the Covid pandemic, he mentioned about the shortages in oxygen, ventilators and beds faced by the people of the state in first and second wave. He said because of the shortage “some three lakh persons lost their lives during the pandemic”. He also mentioned about the bodies floating in the Ganga River during the pandemic.

To connect with tribals as well as the general public, Rahul Gandhi recalled how the Land Acquisition Act 2013 was benefitting the people at large because strict norms and connecting land price with market value is helping in getting good financial rewards if their land is acquired for development projects. He also emphasised that the Congress brought changes in the ages old land acquisition Act introduced by the British.

He said that this was not a public meeting, “the Congress today launched ‘Satyagrah’ for the Adivasis’ rights and will continue to fight for their rights till they get justice. During the BJP rule people have benefitted less, but millionaires have made huge profits and the Indian society is divided into two parts — rich people’s India and poor India…”

For the first time Gujarat Congress has aggressively used social media to reach out to millions of people. Will Rahul’s speech influence the voters is difficult to answer, because to win elections the BJP will also fight aggressively. The Congress has to work hard as it has to overcome its internal fighting, build confidence and trust among the people and show they can deliver results, only if people are convinced such meetings will reap results, is the assessment of Hari Desai, a political analyst.




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