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Home > News > Report

No assurance of ST status to Gujjars in manifesto: BJP

September 15, 2007 18:27 IST

The Bharatiya Janata Party's Rajasthan wing on Saturday ruled out the possibility of including its assurance to grant Scheduled Tribe status for Gujjars in its election manifesto. The next assembly election in Rajasthan will be held by the end of 2008.

The party also alleged that the previous Ashok Gehlot government had mishandled the issue, making it 'further complicated' and asked the Congress to clarify whether it intended to include this issue in its election manifesto.

BJP state president Dr Mahesh Sharma said that inclusion of any new community in the ST list was neither a state subject nor was it possible for any single party to implement it on its own. ''The process is very lengthy and complicated. It requires involvement of the states as well as the Centre and finally, a constitutional amendment,'' he said.

''Therefore, no political party can assure on its own to any community in this regard and accordingly BJP can't include the issue in its election manifesto,'' Sharma added.

The BJP leader said that it was the Bhairon Singh Shekhawat government which accorded Other Backward Caste status to the Gujjar community during its regime in 1993-98. During the subsequent Gehlot government's rule, the Gujjar community had launched an agitation for ST status. Sharma said the then state government had mishandled the issue, adding,

"Gehlot had neither held a comprehensive dialogue with the Centre over this issue nor had they responded properly to the Centre's correspondence in this regard.''

He said that proper handling of the issue could have solved the contentious issue but the Congress government had further complicated it.

The BJP state chief pointed out that certain Congress leaders, including member of Parliament Sachin Pilot and member of Legislative Assembly and former minister Govind Singh Gujjar, had participated in the Gujjar Mahapanchayats. He said that the party should explain whether it has changed its policy on the issue.

Sharma added that the Gujjar Mahapanchayats had violated the June 4 agreement between the Gujjar Action Committee and the state government. He said that certain outsider political forces were backing and sponsoring these panchayats(congregations) to use the Gujjar movement for their vested interests.

He also asked the Gujjar community to give up their plans of launching a Jail bharo