March 9: The Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad has made it clear to the Congress that the tribals are willing to support the party in the Dooars and the Terai if it agrees to work towards Sixth Schedule status for the region after the Assembly elections.
The tribal outfit has threatened to put up its own candidates in the 15 Assembly seats in the Adivasi-dominated Terai, Dooars and North Dinajpur if the Centre refuses to grant the status.
A six-member Parishad delegation led by Sukra Munda met senior Congress leaders, including Sonia Gandhis political secretary Ahmed Patel and Raiganj MP Deepa Das Munshi, in Delhi yesterday evening.
The elections are not that important for us. But we are serious about regional autonomy under the Sixth Schedule, Munda, a senior Parishad leader, said.
The tribals in the Terai and the Dooars have long been denied proper development by the state government, he said. Munda said if the Congress agreed to ink an agreement before the polls, the Parishad would support the partys candidates wherever the outfit had a strong base.