BJD attempts to embarrass Rahul, tribal leader does a u-turn
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Last Updated: Friday, September 03, 2010, 20:55
Lanjigarh: A tribal leader, who had earlier sought support of Rahul Gandhi for anti-Vedanata agitation, today did a u-turn by coming out in favour of the mining project and said the community needed industries and education and not the Congress leader.

"I don't understand how Rahul Gandhi can be a 'sipahi' for tribals in Delhi. He has not provided a school or a job for any tribal. How can he protect interest of tribals?," 22-year-old Jitu Jakesia, belonging to Dangaria Kandha tribe, said addressing a rally of the youth wing of the ruling BJD which has blamed the Centre for stopping Vedanta's mining project at Niyamgiri hills in Kalahandi district.

The jibe at the Congress leader who had said at a rally here last month that he would be their 'soldier' in Delhi was seen as an attempt by the ruling party to embarass Rahul.

Jitu, who first met Gandhi in March 2008 here as a leader of the anti-Vedanta agitation, claimed he had committed a mistake by reposing faith on politicians and NGOs.

"We (tribals) need industries and education, not Rahul Gandhi," Jitu, the first Dangaria Kandha tribal who received a bachelor degree in business administration (BBA), said. "Dangaria Kandhas need not live in the hills forever.

They must be educated and provided jobs like others," he said. Jitua also claimed that bauxite mining would not cause much damage to forests and ecology as projected. "I have visited Nalco's bauxite mining area. I have seen that not much damage is being caused by mining," he said.

The fate of the controversial Vedanta's bauxite mining project at the Niyamgiri hills was sealed with the Union Environment Ministry rejecting it recently, saying that forest laws had been violated.


First Published: Friday, September 03, 2010, 20:55

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