Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is planning to woo women from tribal communities by distributing over 10.50 lakh saris with elections due later this month.
This comes at time when the Congress is aggressively wooing OBC communities who traditionally vote for the BJP. Tribal communities are a vote bank of the Congress.
This is not the first time Chouhan has reached out to tribal communities. Previously, he distributed footwear and water bottles to tribals engaged in tendu leaf collection, a major trade in tribal belts of Madhya Pradesh.
While an official announcement is yet to be made, the state government has chalked out plans to distribute 10.50 lakh saris among tribal women which primarily engage in tendu leaf collection.
Madhya Pradesh Lagu Udyog Nigam, a state government held entity, recently published an advertisement in local dailies floating tenders for the procurement of saris. The tenders would be opened on February 22.
The funds for the scheme would be made available by State Minor Forest Produce Corporation which procures minor forest produce collected by tribals in the state.
An officer from the corporation, wishing anonymity, claimed that tenders have been floated to purchase synthetic saris for the tribal women. Tribal community members would also be given footwear and water bottles, he said, claiming that the distribution of these apparels would take place in the month of March.
According to the 2011 census, tribals constitute around 38% of the state’s total population.
Madhya Pradesh BJP spokesperson Deepak Vijayvargiya said the Laghu Vanopaj Sangh would be distributing saris to the tendu patta collectors.
“Madhya Pradesh Laghu Vanopaj Sangh has been making efforts to make the life of tendu leaf collectors easy by providing them the useful stuff. This time the Sangh is distributing saris,” he said.
Leader of Opposition in Legislative Assembly, Ajay Singh, has questioned the scheme. “It seems the distribution of footwear was not sufficient so the government has taken the decision of sari distribution. This might prove to be another scam.”
Singh claimed even this is not going to make any difference, as the state government has not distributed bonus among tendu patta collectors since the past 14 years.