The man who managed to break the ice
It was the sustained efforts of a core team of Rajasthan government officials guided by Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and her political advisors which finally succeeded in achieving what had initially seemed impossible - persuading the agitating Gujjars to start negotiations with the state. The chief mediator was Principal Secretary SN Thanvi.
For the last 16 days, since the agitation began, Thanvi has been camping at Bayana in Bharatpur district, where Gujjar leader Col K.S. Bainsala has stationed himself surrounded by a sea of supporters blocking all rail and road traffic in the area.
Initially it was not easy for him to even get through to Bainsala. The killing of 38 Gujjars in police firing at three different places had created great bitterness.
Fortunately the chief executive officer in his department, Ramsharan Gujjar, being a Gujjar himself, finally managed the breakthrough. And Bainsala agreed to speak to Thanvi.
Unlike during last year's agitation, when he was the undisputed head of the movement, this time, Bainsala too is under pressure to deliver. His leadership has been questioned as last year’s agitation failed to achieve anything concrete for the Gujjars. He has no option but to adopt a more rigid stance than he had done last year.
Sources revealed that an initial meeting had been arranged by mediators between Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and Bainsala when she flew down to Bayana on May 25.
But hardliners within the movement prevented Bainsala from going across to the school building which had been fixed as the meeting’s venue.
Yet after Raje left, it was Bainsala who complained publicly that though the chief minister had visited Bayana, she did not care to come to Piloopura village where he and his supporters were agitating.
At every stage Thanvi kept his channels to Bainsala open and continued to keep the CM, Chief Secretary DC Samant and CM’s principal secretary Sunil Arora abreast of all developments.
Despite being an opposition MP, Sachin Pilot too played a constructive role, ensuring the Gujjars agreed to the cremation of bodies of those killed in police firing in Sikandra.
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