Narendra Modi trying to 'cheat' tribals during poll season: Mallikarjun Kharge

Congress president asks why the expenditure on tribals has reduced drastically during the Modi government

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge (photo: IANS)
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge (photo: IANS)


Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Monday, 15 January, accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of remembering tribals only ahead of elections and said his government is trying to befool tribal communities by changing names of old schemes.

Kharge also asked why the expenditure on tribals has reduced drastically during the Modi government.

Kharge made the remarks after Prime Minister Modi released the first instalment of Rs 540 crore to 1 lakh tribal beneficiaries of a rural housing scheme under the Pradhan Mantri Janjati Adivasi Nyaya Maha Abhiyan (PM-JANMAN) via video conferencing and said the 10 years of his government have been dedicated to the poor.

"Even if for elections, at least the prime minister has remembered the welfare of tribals and various tribes today after 10 years," Kharge said in a post in Hindi on X.

"We want to ask three questions to the Modi government — why has crime against tribals increased by 48.15 per cent compared to 2013? (NCRB). Why are the double engine governments of the BJP completely failing to implement the 'Forest Rights Act, 2006'?

"Before this event, why was there a continuous decline in the expenditure of the Development Scheme for Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) of the Modi government's ministry of tribal affairs? It has fallen from Rs 250 crore in 2018-19 to only Rs 6.48 crore in 2022-23. This is what the parliamentary committee says," the Congress chief asked.

Kharge alleged that the Modi government is trying to "cheat" the tribal community during the election season by changing the name of the old failed scheme.

"Preservation of water, forest, land and tribal civilisation is our duty and the Congress party will continue to fight for the rights of the tribal societies of the country," he said.

PM Modi said on Monday that the country can develop only if various welfare schemes reach all, asserting that it is his guarantee that everyone — even those in the remotest of areas — will benefit from them.

Invoking Shabari, a tribal woman depicted in the epic Ramayana who served berries to Lord Ram during his stay in forests, the prime minister said it is natural for him to remember her when he has undertaken a special religious ritual until the consecration ceremony of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya on 22 January.

"The story of Shri Ram is not possible without Mata Shabari," he said, asserting that she played a big role in the transformation of 'prince' Ram into maryada purushottam (supreme among men) Ram.

"Be it the story of 'raja' Ram in Treta Yuga or the current situation, welfare is not possible without uplifting the poor, deprived and the tribals," he said, noting that over 4 crore permanent houses were constructed for the poor in the last 10 years. "Modi has reached out to those who were never cared for earlier," he added.

The budget of many welfare schemes for the Scheduled Tribes has risen by five times and the scholarship for tribal students has grown by two-and-a-half times in the last 10 years, Modi said, adding that work is on to construct more than 500 Eklavya model schools for them, where only 90 existed earlier.

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