OBC panel proposals spark fresh row

Narayan Bareth/Jaipur

The recommendations of the Rajasthan Other backward Class commission to divide OBCs into three "categories" have triggered a fresh controversy in the State.

The commission, headed by justice R S Verma, has recommended to divide OBC quota into three categories - A, B and C. It has put Jat, Vishnoi, Mali, Ahir and Charan communities in category A with maximum 6% reservation, considering these castes as forward among backward communities.

Most of the major beneficiaries of OBC quota have rejected the commission's proposals. Outrightly rejecting the recommendations of the panel, politically powerful Jat community leaders have decided to launch a movement against the move. G P Pilania, patron of Jat Mahasabha, said that the move was aimed at dividing backward communities. he hoped that the Chief Minister would not accept such recommendations.

Some ministers of the Gehlot government have also expressed their objection to the proposals.

Health Minister Rajendra Choudhary, who hails from Chief minister Ashok Gehlot's home district Jodhpur, has said that the OBC Commission's move is against the interest of the Congress.

Talking to mediapersons, Mr Choudhary warned the move could create problems in the social fabric of the state.

With his outburst Mr Choudhary, who is known to be close to the Chief Minister, has surprised many in political circles.

The panel's recommendations have also provided an effective issue to chief minister Ashok Gehlot's detractors in the ruling Congress, who are using the issue to settle scores with the Chief Minister.

Mr Gehlot, however, clarified that this was not first time that the categorisation of the OBC communities had been recommended to the State Government. Earlier commission had recommendations to divide other backward communities into two categories, but the state government had rejected the proposal, he said.

On the fate of the new recommendations of the commission, Mr Gehlot said only people's wishes are supreme in a democracy. "In democratic setup, the government takes action according to people's wishes," he said.

There are 72 communities in OBC list who enjoy 21% reservation in the State. Many poor communities have been raising their voices to divide the quota in backward and most backward classes for long.

The Social Justice Front (SJF), led by senior BJP leader and former minister Devi Singh Bhati who has been organising communities deprived of reservation benefits, said that the proposals were prepared at the behest of the Congress Government, and the SJF would not accept them.

According to Mr Bhati, the government knew that no one would accept these unjustifiable recommendations and it would "ultimately help influential Jat community to continue with present 21 per cent job quota".

The SJF, however, demanded division of OBC quota in two categories - one for originally listed in Mandal Commission recommendations and second for communities recently included in the OBC list under political pressure.

Mr Bhati, who had organised half a dozen big rallies in the state on the issue, said the existing arrangement was helping only one community.

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Referred by: Mukundan CM
Published on: July 27, 2001
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