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Gujjars already enjoy OBC benefits: Meena leader
Onkar Singh in Jaipur | June 07, 2007 14:19 IST
Last Updated: June 07, 2007 17:40 IST
Dr Kirori Lal Meena, food minister in the Vasundhara Raje government in Rajasthan, said that itwas unfair for the Gujjars to start agitation for seeking Scheduled Tribe status when they were already reaping the benefits of the OBC quota.
Speaking exclusively to rediff.com he said that the Gujjars did not fulfill any of the conditions that are necessary to get ST status - "There was no justification for the agitation as it could have never succeeded. They have to give up the privileges of OBC before seeking ST status, which is never going to go to them. They are in trouble now."
His house on Hospital Road in Jaipur was the epicentre of the anti-Gujjar wave. Tents had been put up for Meena community members who had been stranded in Jaipur, though he denied this.
"This is a rumour that has been spread by the Gujjars," Meena claimed but his own staff vouched for the correctness of the statement attributed to Gujars.
"Though Colonel Bainsla may have bought time by accepting the three-member commission, let me tell you that under no circumstances are they going to get favourable verdict," Dr Meena claimed.
He admitted that three ministers and 31 Meena MLAs were ready to resign in case the Rajasthan government wrote a letter to the Union government to recommend ST status for Gujjars.
"In Dausa we are 3.5 lakh Meenas and only 2.5 lakh Gujjars but, still, we decided to elect Rajesh Pilot, his wife Rama and now his son Sachin to represent us. Now we will elect our own man. We can influence 78 seats in the state Assembly," he boasted.
According to Meena, giving ST status to Gujjars would be a political suicide - "We are 13 percent and Gujars just 5 percent. The government has to decide who to go along with."
Talking about the damage caused to public property, Dr Meena said that 25 police stations and an equal number of railway stations were burnt.
Railway tracks were uprooted at a number of places and government and private vehicles were burnt in hundreds.
"It is difficult to measure the total loss in terms of loss to public property. But it would run into hundreds of crores," he said.
Dr Meena said that it would take a long time to heal the wounds between the Gujars and the Meenas who had lived in harmony till now.