JAIPUR: The Rajasthan unit of Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) is heading for a vertical split in the state with its two MLAs, along with some other leaders, all set to float a new party to contest the Assembly polls due next year. The party’s name will be announced in the next few days.
Having made inroads in south Rajasthan in 2018, the Gujarat-based BTP had been facing an internal rift that started over differences to support the ruling Congress when it faced political crises in the state in 2020.
BTP legislator Chorasi Rajkumar Roat confirmed to TOI that he and the party’s other MLA, Ramprasad Dindor, have broken all ties with BTP to form a local political party.
“Many tribal rights organizations joined BTP barely two months before the Assembly elections in 2018 the condition that the party would function according to local dynamics. Our main contention that neither Gujarat politics nor the ambition of the national leaders will work in Rajasthan has been repeatedly ignored by the central leadership,” said Roat, raising objection to he and Dindor being called BTP MLAs.
Dindor blamed direct interference of BTP’s national leaders, including its president Chotubhai Vasava, for the Rajasthan unit’s decision to split. “Their first direct interference came in in 2020 during the crises in Congress and the Rajya Sabha polls. The central leadership forced its decisions on us while we wanted to discuss the matters with the different social tribal bodies, which are our support systems in the region. During the Rajya Sabha polls in 2020 and 2022, they (central leadership) wanted me and Raot to stay incommunicado in Gujarat so that they could bargain with the Congress government,” said Dindor.
The BTP’s victory in two seats and its emerging first runners-up in other seats in the 2018 Assembly polls was attributed to the support of frontal bodies like Adivasi Parivar, Bhil Pradesh Mukhti Morcha, Bheel Pradesh Vidhyarthi Morcha and Tribal Employees Federation.
“Our united tribal group was anyhow contesting polls in 2018. BTP saw this as an opportunity and offered us to contest the polls as its candidates. After many discussions with the frontal bodies, we accepted the offers on a conditional basis. Since the conditions were flouted repeatedly, the alliance now ceases to exist,” said Roat.
The two MLAs have found support for the new party from many members of BTP’s core committee and working committee. Reacting to the development, BTP state president Vela Ram Ghogra said, “The party has always kept the interest of tribal population above individuals and social organizations. Both the MLAs are following their individual interest and betraying the tribal population. If they go ahead with a new political outfit, the state’s people will never forgive them. We will take appropriate legal action against them.”