Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday took a swipe at Congress saying its leaders remained oblivious to tribals for a very long time even though tribals have been living in the country since the days of Lord Ram and Lord Krishna.
Canvassing for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Jambusar town in tribal-dominated Bharuch district in poll-bound Gujarat, the prime minister also said leaders of Congress mocked him for wearing traditional tribal attire at public functions.
”For a very long time, Congress leaders remained unaware of the existence of tribals in India. Weren’t they living here since the days of Lord Ram and Lord Krishna?.. Weren’t they part of the 1857 mutiny? Tribals did so many things for this country. But, Congress leaders never knew that Adivasis exist.” ”Otherwise, why was there no separate ministry for tribals until Atal Bihari Vajpayee became prime minister? It was Ataljee’s government at the Centre which carved out a separate ministry and allocated a budget for their welfare. Even today, Congress leaders make fun of me for wearing tribal attire,” Modi said while addressing a poll rally.
The prime minister, who is campaigning in his home state since November 19, said Adivasis cannot expect Congress will improve their condition because leaders of Congress mock tribal outfits and insult tribals at regular intervals.
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”While past Congress candidates left tribals to fend for themselves in Gujarat, it was BJP, after coming to power, resolved their issues such as education, health, malnutrition and employment among others,” he added. Campaigning in Gujarat on Monday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi told a gathering of tribals at Mahuva in Surat district they are the ”first owners” of the country but BJP was trying to take away their rights. A day earlier, Gandhi had accused the Narendra Modi government of weakening the laws framed by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) to empower tribals and said his party will strengthen them further after coming to power again.