21 October, 2020

Our Man In Bastar

Will new Chhattisgarh BJP chief Vikram Usendi, a tribal face from Bastar, help reverse the fortunes of a party in the state?

Our Man In Bastar
outlookindia.com
2019-12-09T14:29:52+05:30

Three days before the poll dates were announced, the Chhattisgarh unit of BJP got a new chief—Vikram Usendi, a tribal face from Bastar. Will that help reverse the fortunes of a party whose washout in the recent assembly polls was also marked by a complete rejection in the two major tribal-dominated reg­ions of Surguja and Bastar? (Of the 20 assembly seats they together constitute, it managed to win only one seat.)

Lok Sabha poll dynamics can of course be different—it’s a blend of local and nat­ional trends. Chhattisgarh is a state where both streams collide often. There is the Maoist problem, at one end, and vital livelihood issues relating to forest produce at the other. Not to speak of the Forest Rights Act and the recent Supr­eme Court order on tribal evictions—merely stayed as of now. Chhattisgarh has seen a massive amount of claims to forest lands being denied—over half of individual claims and a third of community rights claims, according to a Scroll report. So that will inevitably play out.

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