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Gehlot promises probe into BJP link to Gujjar agitation

Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot today said he would like to probe the involvement of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders in the Gujjar agitation in the state.

jaipur Updated: Dec 28, 2010 20:58 IST

Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot on Tuesday said he would like to probe the involvement of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders in the Gujjar agitation in the state.

Gujjars have been agitating in the state since December 20 this year, demanding 5% reservation in government jobs.

While talking to reporters at the state Congress headquarters in Jaipur, Gehlot said: “It has come to my knowledge that conspiracy to this effect was hatched during the wedding of (BJP president) Nitin Gadkari's son in Nagpur.”

“However, it is a matter that needs to be investigated and I will only be able to comment on this issue after the probe is done,” said the chief minister.

In a ruling on Dec 22, 2010, the High Court struck down the job quota for Gujjars.

Gehlot said the government is ready to provide all it can to the Gujjars. “However, we do not have control over the High Court. The recruitment in government jobs cannot stop. It is a major issue for the thousands of unemployed. Every one was waiting for these jobs eagerly,” he said.

“Gujjars should understand that blocking railway tracks can land them in jails. The people who are sitting on the tracks can face difficulty in getting jobs... They should understand. We are ready to have talks with them and do not mind accepting their reasonable demands,” Gehlot said.

Meanwhile, train services between Delhi and Mumbai and few other sectors continued to be affected on Tuesday as Gujjars continued with their siege on a railway track near Bayana in Bharatpur district of Rajasthan.

Over 15,000 Gujjars began their agitation on Dec 20 this year under the leadership of Colonel (retd) K.S. Bainsla, convener of the samiti. Hundreds of protesters squatted on the rail tracks in Piloo Ka Pura forcing the railway to divert or cancel a few of its trains.

In July 2009, the Rajasthan government had announced 5% reservation for Gujjars and 14% for the economically backward classes, taking the total reservation in the state for various sections of society to 68%.

The High Court in October 2009 stayed the quota in jobs and educational institutions in the state for Gujjars and the economically backward classes as the combined quotas had exceeded the cap of 50%. Between 2006 and 2008, Gujjars had staged violent protests in which many lives were lost.

First Published: Dec 28, 2010 20:56 IST