An array of key political leaders of the Jat caste in Punjab, Haryana, west UP and Rajasthan came together in New Delhi on Saturday to demand the inclusion of the Jats in the central Other Backward Classes (OBC) list.
Former Lok Sabha speaker Balram Jakhar, former external affairs minister Natwar Singh and Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda were present at the meet, among others.
Former journalist Ajay Singh was elected the president of the Akhil Bharatiya Jat Sammelan, with speakers asking him to lead the community in getting its “rights”, including reservation.
“We’ll keep meeting leaders demanding reservation –- not through vandalism but peacefully. We have fed the country as farmers and sacrificed our lives too, and are not asking for favours,” Jakhar said amid cheers.
Speakers laid stress on the need for better education for Jat children, emphasising that the coming times would benefit those who were educated.
Ajay Singh recounted his days at St Stephens and rued that the community hadn’t given due importance to education.
Patting himself on the back for extending quotas to Jats in Haryana, Hooda said the community had led the country in sacrificing lives during the Kargil war.
He said Jats were a “secular” community. Natwar Singh said there had never been a Jat CM in Rajasthan and emphasised the value of education for the community.