In the last four years, the Telugu Desam Party could not accommodate even a single Scheduled Tribe representative in the State Cabinet. While it had no ST MLA to be inducted into the Cabinet, the government could have accommodated one of them by giving them the representation in the Legislative Council.
The TDP had made three MLCs, P Narayana, Nara Lokesh and Somireddi Chandramohan Reddy, as Ministers in the last four years. While Narayana became a Minister without being an MLC, the other two were made MLCs and later Ministers. If the TDP had the commitment to give due representation to the STs, it could have found a way to do so. But, it remained silent. In fact, the representatives of the ST associations have been making this charge on the government for the past four years.
Now, at the end of the present term, the TDP is celebrating the Adivsi Day to woo the ST voters. It had done the same for the Dalits by organising the Dalita Tejam in Nellore two months back. Now it is the turn of the STs from the party.
The irony is that there is no ST representative in the neighbouring Telangana State Cabinet too. That’s what both the TRS in Telangana and the TDP in Andhra Pradesh have done for the most neglected section of the society in the last four years.
The TDP had not given the representation for the Muslims in the Cabinet. But, it found a way to give some recognition to them by making former minister M D Farooq as MLC and later as chairman of the Legislative Council. But such an initiative was not done in the case of the Scheduled Tribes for the reasons best known to TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu.
Forgetting the fact that the STs were denied their due representation in the Cabinet in the last four years, the government could not even provide basic facilities for them in the ST habitations located in the hills and forests, mostly in the north coastal districts. They still suffer for lack of drinking water, electricity, road connectivity and health facilities and they struggle for their survival.
The tribal habitations are not connected with the rest of the State and not many of them have made any visit to the State capital Amaravati, despite much hype created by the government. The fact remains that the political parties think of these tribals only for the votes at the time of elections and the TDP is no exception.