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Rohtak rally today: Modi in tow, BJP makes move to win over Jats

The Jat community constitutes about 25% of the state’s population, making them a singular dominant vote-bank which the saffron party aims to penetrate in the upcoming polls.

india Updated: Oct 09, 2018 20:01 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Rohtak rally,Modi,BJP
A grand symbolic gesture would come from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday afternoon when he unveils a 64 feet tall statue of Jat leader, Sir Chhotu Ram, at Sampla in Rohtak.(HT Photo)

The BJP is all set to mend fences with the Jats in Haryana, who are deeply upset with the Saffron party over the issue of grant of reservation to them in government jobs and registration of criminal cases against Jat youngsters.

The Jat community constitutes about 25% of the state’s population, making them a singular dominant vote-bank which the saffron party aims to penetrate in the upcoming polls.

A grand symbolic gesture would come from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday afternoon when he unveils a 64 feet tall statue of Jat leader, Sir Chhotu Ram, at Sampla in Rohtak.

The Jat leader, regarded as a messiah of peasants, was instrumental in empowering the farmers in pre-Independence era and getting pro-farmer laws enacted.

The peasant leader, revered as a stalwart in Haryana, embodies the emancipation of the peasantry. Union minister Birender Singh, who is the maternal grandson of the peasant leader, spearheaded the move to get the statue erected at Ram’s birthplace.

The BJP has so far failed to bridge the gap between them and Jats in Haryana. The Saffron party has not been able to sort out the issue of grant of reservation in jobs for the Jats. The 2016 Jat quota agitation and subsequent registration of cases against Jat youngsters have further complicated the matters. Outfits like All India Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti (AIJASS), which lead the agitation for grant of reservation, are defiant in seeking withdrawal of cases against the Jat youth.

In 2014, the BJP rode to power in Haryana primarily on the strength of non-Jat MLAs. Six Jat and one Jat Sikh MLA won on the BJP ticket out of the party tally of 47. They are Capt Abhimanyu, Om Prakash Dhankar, Subhash Barala, Prem Lata, Sukhvinder Sheoran and Mahipal Dhanda. The lone Jat Sikh MLA is Bakshish Singh Virk from Assandh.

By crowning a non-Jat chief minister in Manohar Lal Khattar, the BJP in 2014 made a clear departure from the 18-year cycle of a Jat leader being at the helm as the CM. The move to have a Punjabi as the chief minister did not go down well with the Jats and the violent quota agitation of 2016 bore testimony to sharp caste divisions the state was experiencing.

AIJASS chief Yashpal Malik had started protest demonstrations against Khattar and finance minister Capt Abhimanyu, only to suspend them for a few days in wake of Modi’s event at Sampla.

“The Jats are not going to get appeased by such politicking. This is the place (Sampla and Rohtak) from where the 2016 quota agitation started. The Prime Minister is going to unveil the statue at this very place. He should make a firm commitment regarding grant of reservation to the Jats. Jhoot aur Jumle na phenke, nahi to Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh harne ki tayyari kar len,” Malik said.

First Published: Oct 09, 2018 11:13 IST