March 12, 2021 10:30:09 am
A Congress MLA’s demand for a separate “adivasi religious code” along with the assertion that tribal culture and traditions are different from those in Hinduism has triggered a political uproar in Rajasthan.
The BJP has accused the Congress of “breaking the majority community” and asked it to clarify the party’s official stand. While the Congress is yet to comment on the MLA’s demand, it has accused the saffron party of raising “baseless issues”.
Speaking in the Assembly on Tuesday, Ganesh Ghogra, MLA from Dungarpur and state president of the Youth Congress in Rajasthan, had also targeted the BJP and the RSS, saying that the tribal community is being exploited in the name of Hinduism and the Hindu faith should not be imposed on the community.
Ghogra’s demand found approval of the legislators of the Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP), which had last year withdrawn their support to the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government after Congress and BJP members joined forces to defeat a BTP-backed Independent in a local election in Dungarpur.
“For a long time we have been raising this demand (of separate religious code for tribals)… This is the first time that Ghogra has said this as a Congress leader. If the Congress doesn’t take consideration of the demand, it will sustain heavy electoral losses in the tribal belt. The belief that adivasis don’t fall under the Hindu system is an issue pertaining to the entire community,” said Rajkumar Roat, BTP MLA from Chorasi in Dungarpur.
Ramlal Sharma, BJP MLA and the party’s chief spokesperson in Rajasthan, said “it has always been the policy of the Congress to divide people”. “They are trying to break the Hindu community. It should first clarify what Ghogra has said, whether that’s the official stand of the Congress party as well. Breaking the majority community in such a way is a danger for the country’s unity,” he said on Thursday.
Ghogra met Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday.
Meanwhile, instead of commenting on the merits of Ghogra’s demand, the Congress has chosen to accuse the BJP of raising “baseless issues”. “BJP discusses baseless issues which is not right… Tribals are also Hindus but they also have the right to express themselves. Ganesh Ghogra is an adivasi MLA and it’s his freedom of speech… BJP need not worry about what he said. Instead, the BJP-led central government should make it clear whether people from all religions and castes have the right to stay in this country or whether the BJP has taken away our right of freedom of speech too,” said Rajasthan Transport Minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas.
“The Congress has a lot to lose electorally by supporting Ghogra as it can face a backlash from the Hindus… neither does the party want to let the BTP get any benefit… that’s why the party has chosen to not talk much on this issue,” said a top Congress leader from Rajasthan on condition of anonymity.
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