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Raje, Gujjars soften stands
Neelabh Srivastava in Jaipur/Bayana | May 26, 2008 20:49 IST
The first signs of a possible breakthrough in the standoff between Rajasthan government and the agitating Gujjars' emerged Monday with Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje recommending four to six percent reservation for the community and Gujjar leader Kirori Singh Bainsla welcoming the move.
After a meeting of her cabinet in Jaipur, Raje wrote a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] recommending 4 to 6 per cent reservation for Gujjars in the category of denotified class of tribals/nomadic tribe, Rajasthan Parliamentary Affairs Minister R S Rathore told reporters in Jaipur.
Gujjars could also be considered as economically poorer than OBC, the letter said.
On the Gujjars' key demand for giving ST status, the state government sought to throw the ball into the Centre's court saying "this is a sensitive issue and the United Progressive Alliance government should decide it whether to accord and shift Gujjars from OBC category to Scheduled Tribe and a policy be drawn on this matter," Rathore said quoting the state cabinet's decision.
Bainsla, who has been camping with his supporters on the railway track near Dumariya village in Bharatpur district, said "we welcome the letter written by Vasundhara Raje to the prime minister and "I hope it is commensurate with our demand".
"I expect the letter to be given to us and officials of the state government come here and address the gathering so that they can go back home happy," he said.
Replying to a question, the Gujjar leader said "we must have a copy of the chief minister's letter and we will call off" the agitation.
Raje also asked the prime minister to convene a meeting of chief ministers of states which have sizable population of Gujjars to consider their demand for ST status.