Bhubaneswar :30/1/19: Odisha Chief Naveen Patnaik has moved to reach out towards perennially backward Kudumi community by announcing the formation of Kudumi Development Council (KDC), a step that being viewed as an attempt to consolidate its vote bank ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.
The Kudumi community has a sizeable demographic presence in four districts- Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Sundargarh and Sambalpur. Their population is estimated to be around 25 lakh. The community is usually inclined towards Sangh Parivar and BJP always considers the Kudumi community voters as their traditional vote bank.
“Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has decided for formation of Kudumi Development Council for providing support and assistance for the development of Kudumi community. It will support the community for its socio-economic advancement and will also work for the resurgence of their cultural ethos. It was felt necessary for extensive involvement of this community in the development process to bring in inclusive and participative socio-economic growth”, a press release issued on Tuesday by Chief Minister’s Office said.
The Kudumi development council formation move by Naveen Patnaik government has become a cause of worry for saffron party which was eyeing on garnering the community support in four districts in the coming polls.
Kudumi community has been persistently voicing the demand for Scheduled Tribes (ST) tag on them. Till 1952, the Kudumis were categorised as ST. However they are coming under other backward caste (OBC) category.
The Kudumis are lagging in backwardness socially, economically and educationally. They are languishing in poverty in hunger. Naveen Patnaik’s government to form KDC is a welcome step. However it appears to be a pre-election move to woo Kudumi community votes.
It may be recalled here that Patidar movement leader Hardik Patel had visited Mayurbhanj district on March 11 last year and had expressed solidarity with agitation by ‘Kudumi’ people for inclusion of their caste in the Schedule Tribe category.