New Delhi: BJP was able to make deep inroads in the seats reserved for Scheduled Tribes in the just concluded assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.Out of 101 ST reserved seats, BJP won 57 – a win rate of 56% – with marginally higher strike rate in Chhattisgarh, followed by Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Out of 79 SC reserved seats, it bagged 52 (the figure was 32 in 2018).
Led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP stepped up its ST outreach since last year – in November, he addressed a Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas in Bhopal and it was followed by Union home minister Amit Shah’s rally of tendu leaf pickers. It kept highlighting that Droupadi Murmu, the country’s first tribal president, was BJP’s candidate for the top constitutional post.The outreach worked in Gujarat in 2022 when BJP won 23 of the 27 ST seats, but it failed in Karnataka polls.
BJP won all seats in Surguja region, the backyard of former Chhattisgarh deputy CM and Congress leader TS Singh Deo. Similarly, in Rajasthan, the party did well in SC and ST reserved seats in Dausa, where Congress leader Sachin Pilot seems to hold considerable influence.