In a move to reclaim his party’s traditional support base among tribals, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is expected to visit Odisha later this month to meet villagers who recently rejected a proposal to mine bauxite from the Niyamgiri hills.
“(Rahul) Gandhi will meet the tribals and celebrate their victory,” Odisha Congress chief Jayadev Jena told HT.
People of all the 12 gram sabhas (village councils) had last month unanimously rejected the mining project.
The BJD government had held five council meetings in Kalahandi district and seven in Rayagada in villages inhabited by Dongria, Jharania and Kutia Kandha tribes in compliance with the Supreme Court’s April 18 order which gave the tribals the right to decide on the mining plan.
This is not the first time Gandhi is taking such a trip. In August 2010, Gandhi visited Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district for “victory celebrations” after the Union environment and forest ministry rejected the forest clearance for the bauxite mining project.
Jena said Gandhi was expected to visit the state anytime between September 20 and 30. He was earlier scheduled to visit the state in August but had to postpone it because of elections to urban local bodies.
He will address a public meeting in Bhubaneswar and interact with Dongria Kondh and Kutia Kondh tribals of Kalahandi and Rayagada districts.