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Congress, BJP woo tribals ahead of Rajasthan polls

And the BJP will field its star campaigner and Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi to wean the tribal electorate away from the Congress, which they had overwhelmingly supported in the last Assembly elections. As part of the state BJP’s poll strategy, Modi will hold a tribal rally in scenic Udaipur - also known as the ‘City of Lakes’- on Saturday to hit out at the  Congress. Incidentally, the Udaipur rally is scheduled to take place on the eve of the Gujarat strongman’s ‘Hunkar’ rally in Patna on Sunday.

While the tribal rally will most certainly highlight Modi’s high-octane campaign style, it will be of considerable political significance to the Vasundhara Raje-led BJP, which is hoping for a comeback in the state after a gap of five years.

In fact, the Udaipur region accounts for as many as 16 out of the total 25 Reserved (ST) seats in the state. And it was the ‘mass rejection’ of the BJP in the tribal seats in the 2008 elections which tilted the balance of power in the Congress’ favour and enabled the party to secure 96 seats in the 200-member Rajasthan Assembly. The BJP had got 78 seats, with the BSP, JD(U) and SP winning just one seat apiece, while the independent candidates bagged four seats.

Interestingly, the tribals had voted en masse for the BJP in the 2003 elections, which saw Raje becoming the state’s first woman Chief Minister. Meanwhile, the electoral arithmetic clearly explains the focus on the tribal vote as both the BJP and Congress have fielded their star campaigners to turn the tide.
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