From Laborer to Legislator: Kamleshwar Dodiyar's Triumph, a 300-km Journey, and a Vision for Tribal Empowerment

Despite lacking sufficient funds, organizational support or a prominent social media presence, Kamleshwar Dodiyar defeated the candidate from the country's oldest party.
Kamleshwar Dodiyar, tribal MLA
Kamleshwar Dodiyar, tribal MLAGraphic- The Mooknayak

Madhya Pradesh- After securing victory in the Sailana seat of Ratlam district, Kamleshwar Dodiyar embarked on a remarkable journey on Wednesday. Riding his 100CC motorbike adorned with an MLA sticker, Dodiyar covered a distance of 300 km from his constituency in Ratlam to the state capital, Bhopal. Upon reaching Bhopal, the 33-year-old, the sole MLA in the new Madhya Pradesh Assembly from neither the BJP nor the Congress, humbly bowed before the Secretariat building before proceeding inside to file his official documents.

Dodiyar's journey to this moment has been extraordinary, marked by resilience and determination. Formerly a laborer and a tiffin delivery man, he worked hard to fund his education. Representing the newly formed Bharat Adivasi Party (BAP), a breakaway tribal outfit with three seats in Rajasthan, Dodiyar defeated the Congress’s incumbent Harsh Vijay Gehlot by 4,618 votes in the SC-reserved Sailana seat. His victory was unexpected, as he lacked substantial funds, organizational support, or a prominent social media presence. Dodiyar attributes his success to his humble bike and the support of 2,000 dedicated workers.

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Hailing from the tribal-dominated Radha Kua village, where his family resides in a mud-brick home, Dodiyar's background is rooted in modest beginnings. His father sold eggs, his mother worked as a farm laborer, and his five elder brothers also engaged in farm labor. To finance his education, Dodiyar took up work as a laborer, later moving to Delhi to pursue LLB, supporting himself by delivering tiffins.

Inspired by the story of former US President Barack Obama, Dodiyar decided to enter politics. He saw parallels between Obama's journey from a challenging background to becoming the US President and his own struggle. Despite facing defeat in his initial attempts at electoral politics in 2018 and the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Dodiyar garnered a loyal group of followers, with 2,000 workers supporting his campaign this time.

In his social work, Dodiyar focused on addressing local issues, such as poor road quality, irregular power and water supply, and the lack of education and medical infrastructure in tribal villages. His demands included the establishment of 'Bhil Pradesh,' uniting tribals from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan.

Looking ahead to his tenure as an MLA, Dodiyar expresses his commitment to working for the economically disadvantaged in his constituency. Despite his family's financial struggles, he emphasizes the dire economic conditions faced by some tribals in his constituency, pledging to prioritize their welfare over the next five years. Additionally, Dodiyar aims to make the Bharat Adivasi Party a viable force across all 47 tribal seats in the state.

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