Sachin Pilot writes to Ashok Gehlot raising Gujjar issues in Rajasthan
Sachin Pilot represents the Gujjar community in Rajasthan, well known for caste-based identity politics.Updated: Sep 12, 2020 14:55 IST
Rajasthan’s former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot wrote to chief minister Ashok Gehlot over Gujjar issues on September 2, according to the letter released to the media on Saturday. This is one of the very few occasions when Pilot has been seen raising issues related to Gujjars, the pastoral community to which he belongs. Political experts link the release of the letter to the reshuffle in the All India Congress Committee (AICC) on Friday.
After the political turmoil spawned by an alleged rebellion by Pilot and 18 other Congress legislators blew away, it was being speculated that the party will induct him in AICC as a general secretary to compensate for taking away the position of deputy chief minister and state unit chief. However, Pilot was not given a central role in the reshuffle announced yesterday.
“It has been brought to my notice that the 5% reservation to MBC (more backward class) is not being provided in government jobs. The Congress party promised this in its manifesto for 2018 Assembly elections and the Congress government in 2011 had also promised to keep 4% posts in government jobs reserved as shadow posts for MBC,” Pilot wrote.
Pilot further said in the letter that development works under the Devnarayan scheme, a welfare scheme meant for Gujjars, had been put on ice. “People meet me personally to demand proper implementation and sufficient budget allotment to this scheme,” Pilot said.
The former PCC president claimed reservation to MBCs had not been applied for police constable recruitment - 2018, REET recruitment - 2019, panchayati raj LDC - 2013, technical helper - 2018, nursing - 2013 and 2018, jail guards - 2018, ASHA supervisor - 2016, commercial assistant – 2018 and second grade school teachers – 2018.
The Rajasthan government provides 5% reservation to Gujjars and four other communities (Banjara/Baldia/Labana, Gadia-Lohar/Gadalia, Raika/Rebari and Gadaria) in jobs and educational institutions under the MBC category. Gujjars constitute about 5% of Rajasthan’s population, according to the 1931 caste census, and are present in 21 out of the 33 districts of the state. Traditionally, Gujjars have been BJP supporters but in 2018 assembly elections, the community rallied behind Pilot assuming that he would become the chief minister.
Earlier governments provided reservation to Gujjars and the four communities under special backward class (SBC) category but this was struck down by Rajasthan high court.
Political commentator Avadhesh Akodia said Pilot raising issues related to Gujjars was a significant political development.
“So far, he has stayed away from such issues fearing getting labeled as a Gujjar leader. Maybe, now he realizes that the community that has stood behind him so far may also wean away if he is not seen to be raising their issues,” Akodia said.