The Gujjar community has blamed Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje for the deaths during the reservation protests a couple of weeks ago.
Gujjars from all over the country arrived at Pushkar's mela ground on Sunday for a national-level caste mahapanchayat. When the meeting ended, the mahapanchayat resolved that Raje should step down from the post of Chief Minister of Rajasthan on moral grounds.
Dausa MP Sachin Pilot and Col. Kirori Singh Bainsla, who headed the demonstrations for reservation in Rajasthan, took turns to urge their community towards the twin goals of unity and reservation. The Gujjars looked formidable under a united leadership and warned the BJP to accede to their demand - reservation in the Scheduled Tribe category - or suffer the consequences at the national level.
And there was no trace of a faction in the Gujjar leadership, something that had developed after Bainsla's agreement with the government on the withdrawal of the agitation earlier this month.
And while, "Forget politics. Become one to fight the injustice," was Pilot's call to the Gujjars, Bainsla gave his community a glimpse of the future. "The true tribute to the people who died in the reservation protests would come only when our children become collectors in as many districts as the number who laid their lives for reservation," Bainsla said. He added in his short speech that this would be possible only when they get reservation.
The community's sentiment seemed to be against the Rajasthan Chief Minister.
"In July, Shraddhanjali Diwas would be held for the dead and the Rajasthan government's repressing nature would be exposed before the people," the Gujjar leaders told mediapersons.
The mahapanchayat also decided to take the battle for reservation to the heart of Raje's electoral ground — the Gujjars have called rallies in Dholpur and Jhalawar, where Raje has had successive election wins as MP and MLA. For the Gujjars who rallied behind Baisla after his truce with the government just a few weeks back, this is a dramatic turnaround.
Thousands of Gujjars started gathering at the mela ground, home to the annual camel fair, from Saturday evening.
Packed buses, carts and jeeps from Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan arrived in Pushkar for the mahapanchayat.
And as a precautionary measure, the State Roadways suspended its bus service between Ajmer and Pushkar on Sunday.
The district administration had also clamped prohibitory orders to maintain law and order. The participants were directed not to carry weapons or arms to the rally. The police kept a strict vigil on the mela ground throughout the day.