Jaipur, Jan 1: Even as the proposed two-way talks to end the Gujjar agitation for job quota remained in limbo, the Gujjar community representatives in the Congress party met Saturday to discuss the reservation issue.
Union Minister of State for Communications Sachin Pilot, who attended the meeting, tried to pacify the community saying that the Ashok Gehlot government in Rajasthan is committed to provide reservation to them.
The meeting was attended by Pilot and Jitendra Singh, the energy minister in the Gehlot government, besides other community members and officials.
“The Congress party is very clear that Gujjars should be provided reservation and the Ashok Gehlot government is committed to provide it. However, we have to respect the high court judgement too and work out a solution keeping that in mind,” Pilot told reporters here after the meeting.
He urged the agitating Gujjars to hold further talks with the government on the issue.
Colonel (retired) K.S. Bainsla, convener of the Gujjar Aarakshan Sangarsh Samiti spearheading the agitation for five percent government job reservation, had demanded Friday that the leaders must provide them with a feedback on the discussions before further talks could proceed.
Jitendra Singh, who himself is a Gujjar, is also part of three-member ministerial committee that has been formed to talk and find an amicable solution with the agitating Gujjars.
“As demanded by Colonel Bainsla, all the Gujjar leaders met here and discussed the issue,” he said.
He clarified that the government is working on a plan to provide reservation to Gujjars, but in the light of the high court judgment it would have to go through the legal process.
The minister urged Gujjars to send a delegation soon for talks with the government. “I expect Gujjars to send their delegation tomorrow (Sunday),” Singh said.
Chief Minister Gehlot had met a delegation of community leaders Friday night in a bid to find an amicable solution the ongoing agitation. The delegation was led by former Congress legislator Harisingh Mahua.
Gehlot requested the delegation and Jitendra Singh to find a solution to the problem after talking to the community members and Bainsla.
“We are committed to provide five percent reservation to Gujjars,” Gehlot stressed.
Talks between the Gujjars and Rajasthan’s ministerial committee has been stalled after agitators demanded feedback from their representatives in the Congress party.
Gujjars had agreed to send a 21-member delegation to Jaipur for talks with the three-member ministerial committee comprising Jitendra Singh, Home Minister Shanti Dhariwal and Transport Minister B.K. Sharma.
As efforts were made to break the impasse, the Gujjars continued with their agitation that started Dec 20.
Train services between Delhi and Mumbai remained affected Saturday as protesters continued to squat on railway tracks near Bayana in Bharatpur district, about 150 km from here.
Gujjars decided on a rail blockade Dec 20, after holding a ‘mahapanchayat’ (community conclave) in Bayana. Hundreds of protesters blocked the rail tracks in Piloo Ka Pura, forcing the railways to divert or cancel a few trains. –(IANS)