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Press Trust Of India
Vadodara, October 25, 2012
Janata Dal-United (JDU) Thursday said it will contest the Gujarat Assembly poll on the issue of tribal development and ruled out any seat-sharing arrangement with its ally BJP in the state. "Development of tribals will be the main poll plank of JD(U) in Gujarat," the party President, Sharad Yadav, said.

He ruled out any seat-sharing arrangement between his party and BJP in Gujarat despite the two being constituents of National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Chhotubhai Vasava, President of Gujarat JD(U) unit, said the party will contest 35 to 40 seats in the December poll. The State has 182-member Assembly.

Yadav, also NDA Convener, questioned the Narendra Modi Government over giving tax incentives to industrialists and allegedly allowing them to set up units on forest land.

The JD(U) leader, who is in the city to discuss the party's strategy for the election, criticised the Gujarat Government for its failure to implement the Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA), 1996.

PESA is a special law which extends the idea of local governance to tribal regions. It gives vast freedom to autonomous regions and districts populated by tribals in terms of legislative and executive power.

Yadav demanded immediate setting up of autonomous tribal councils in the state. The former Union minister said the BJP Government's Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojna, a welfare scheme for tribals, has failed to achieve its goals.

The scheme has failed to serve its purpose because of involvement of NGOs in its implementation. These NGOs consist of non-tribal members who do not know anything about culture, language, education, socio economic and geographic conditions of adivasis, Yadav said.

Yadav alleged that 70% of tribal population in Gujarat do not get water for drinking and irrigation even after construction of several dams.

Vasava said the party will field candidates mostly in tribal areas.