In poll season, Rajput leaders jump on reservation bandwagon | india news | Hindustan Times
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In poll season, Rajput leaders jump on reservation bandwagon

In election season, reservation politics is rearing its head. Apart from Gurjars and Jats, the Rajput community, considered to be the BJP’s traditional vote bank in Rajasthan, is renewing its demand for reservation

rajasthan elections 2018 Updated: Jun 04, 2018 18:48 IST
Urvashi Dev Rawal
Urvashi Dev Rawal
Hindustan Times
Lokendra Singh Kalvi plans to hold a rally in Chittor on September 23. The theme, he said, is to review reservation policy.
Lokendra Singh Kalvi plans to hold a rally in Chittor on September 23. The theme, he said, is to review reservation policy.(HT File)

In election season, reservation politics is rearing its head. Apart from Gurjars and Jats, the Rajput community, considered to be the BJP’s traditional vote bank in Rajasthan, is renewing its demand for reservation.

The Rajputs have been at loggerheads with the BJP since last year. Rajput leaders say the community has been the backbone of the BJP but the party has ignored and insulted them.

Things came to such a pass that a large section of the community voted against the BJP in the three bypolls held early this year, which led to its loss. The Congress is hoping to cash in on the resentment among the Rajputs ahead of the assembly elections due by the year-end.

Rajputs constitute about 10% of the state’s population and hold sway on 35-40 assembly seats.

Shri Rajput Karni Sena leader Lokendra Singh Kalvi, who had led the widespread protests demanding a ban on ‘Padmaavat’ for alleged character assassination of Chittor queen Padmini, is now planning another show of strength.

Kalvi plans to hold a rally in Chittor on September 23 to celebrate the Karni Sena’s foundation day.

He said the event will be apolitical and no political leaders will be invited. However, the theme for the event is to review the reservation policy and the political undercurrent cannot be overlooked.

Kalvi said the call for a review of reservation included the demand for giving quota to the Rajput community. He plans to invite RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat for the rally.

“Bhagwat had first spoken about reviewing reservation in the country. RSS joint general secretaries MG Vaidya and Dattatreya Hosabale have described in detail what review of reservation entails and I would like one of them to be present in the programme,” Kalvi said.

In the last 10 years, he said, various communities have been agitating for reservation and it’s time for a review to include or exclude communities.

In 1999, Kalvi had led the demand for reservation to Rajputs with senior BJP leader and present MLA Devi Sing Bhatti; the two leaders had formed the Samajik Nyay Manch to press for their demand.

Jaipur Rajput Sabha president Giriraj Singh Lotwara too is pressing for reservation to Rajputs. Lotwara says the Rajputs have nurtured the BJP but today the community finds itself ignored by the party.

“In 2008, Raje had promised reservation to Rajputs under OBC, but the government has gone back on its promise.”

Lotwara supported a review of the reservation policy. “It is a constitutional requirement. Reservation was to be reviewed every 10 years but that has not been done. We need to review what we have lost or gained. Reservation has divided the society.”

Lotwara has held meetings under the banner of the Rajput Samaj Sangharsh Samiti in Bikaner, Ajmer, Kota and Udaipur; a meeting is planned in Bharatpur on June 3.

He said, “If the government does not agree to their demands, the community will initiate a campaign to oust the chief minister Vasundhara Raje government.”

Other demands include withdrawal of false cases against Rajput leaders for violence in the aftermath of Anandpal Singh encounter in Sanwarad village, a CBI probe into the Chatar Singh Sodha encounter in Barmer, and withdrawal of the Rs 4-crore service tax levied on the Rajput Sabha.