Gujjars get reservation, tribals a public holiday as Gehlot tries to keep MLAs togetherUpdated: Aug 03, 2020 19:18 IST
Jaipur: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has decided to declare a holiday in the desert state on August 9, the World Tribal Day, and also allocate a 5% of reservation to most backward classes (MBCs), including Gujjars in judicial services, which the experts say is his attempt to keep his flock of members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) together amid a bitter internal power struggle with sacked deputy CM Sachin Pilot, who himself is a Gujjar.
The Congress government in Rajasthan is facing a crisis since July 12, when 18 party MLAs, loyal to Pilot, revolted and sought removal of Gehlot, a demand that not been met by the party’s high command.
On Sunday night, Gehlot announced that the upcoming World Tribal Day on August 9 would be a public holiday in the state and met the long-standing demand of the Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP).
The two BTP MLAs are camping with 100 legislators supporting Gehlot in a Jaisalmer Hotel.
All the MLAs along with Gehlot reached Jaisalmer, a desert town, on Friday from a hotel in Jaipur, where they were staying since July 12.
The BTP had announced its support to the government on July 18 and had given a letter that listed 17 charter of demands, a few days after BTP national party chief Mahesh C Vasava issued a whip asking the party MLAs to remain neutral amid the power tussle.
Congress leaders said the MLAs decided to support their government after Gehlot assured them that all their demand would be met once there is stability in the dispensation and there would be no dearth of funds for developmental works in their constituencies.
BTP state president, Velaram Ghogra, said: “It was a long pending demand and we are thankful to the CM for keeping it. We are hopeful that other demands will also be met.”
The second decision to give a 5% reservation to the MBCs in judicial services, which include the Gujjars, is to send a message that the government was working for the uplift of all communities, despite Pilot’s rebellion.
Earlier, Gehlot had announced 5% of reservation for MBCs, including Gujjars, in other government jobs.
“The CM wants to send a message to the Gujjar community that the Congress is with them if, in case, by-polls takes place in the constituencies of the 19 rebel Congress MLAs,” said a senior Congress functionary, requesting anonymity.
There are eight Gujjar MLAs in Rajasthan Assembly, including Pilot. All of them are from the Congress, including one who had fought on the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) ticket but later merged with the Congress last September.
In at least 10 of these 19 constituencies, the Gujjar community has a sizeable vote share, a Congress leader said.
Gujjar leader Himmat Singh said the decision has come at the time, where there was some anger among the community members against the ouster of Pilot as state Congress president and the deputy CM. “The decision would offset that anger to some extent,” he said.
The two decisions came days after Gehlot assured the MLAs at a Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meeting that their local area fund would be restored soon and the bureaucrats would cooperate with them in carrying out development works.
“The CM has assured the MLAs that there would be no dearth of money for developmental works in their constituencies and all their grievances would be redressed,” said the Congress leader quoted above.
Political analyst Narayan Bareth said Gehlot would use the available time before the start of the assembly session from August 14 to send a message that all is right with his government and there is no need to worry.
“I see more such decisions in the coming days. The latest decisions are an attempt to save the government. Besides the moves have also strengthened the Congress’s traditional tribal base, which is part of Gehlot’s politics,” he said.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Mukesh Pareek said there are many promises that are yet to be kept such as unemployment allowance, relief to farmers, and regularisation of contractual employees. The Gehlot government should also keep them without looking at political gains, he added.