Interacting with tribal women, he said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Madhya Pradesh was not implementing the central schemes for the poor and the needy properly.
“You have a relationship with the jungle. You get everything from the forest that gives you livelihood and even medicines, but you have no right over the forest. This needs to change,” he told them.
“India will only succeed if everybody is equal. This is our effort,” Gandhi said, according to a release.
Just before starting his conversation, Gandhi walked into the nearby forest to see how the women collect tendu leaves (used for rolling ‘bidis’).
The tribal women told Gandhi how they were paid a pittance for the leaves which took long hours to collect, the release added.
Suhasini Maharani, a leaf picker, said that while victims of car accidents received as much as Rs.3 lakh from insurance companies, the death of somebody in a leaf picker’s family fetched them a paltry Rs.3,000.
“We educate our children, but what’s the point since there are no jobs,” she said, adding people in villages did not even get the promised 100 days of work under the central MGNREGA scheme.