THE BJP’S win in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, including in Jat-dominated Western UP, is seen to have weakened Haryana’s Jat agitation, though plans for the March 20 Delhi march are still on. The agitation, which began as a demand for quotas in jobs and education for the Jat community, was fuelled in party by the ‘sidelining’ of Jats from political power in Haryana with the advent of the BJP government. The Jat leadership would aim at keeping the protests alive as its serves a political purpose towards the next Assembly election. The leaders of the agitation had repeatedly asked the community to “wait until March 11 for everything to become clear”, and had hardly expected that large sections of Jats in western UP voted would vote for the BJP.
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Meanwhile, it has strengthened the saffron party’s confidence that it can build influence in a community that has traditionally voted for the Congress of INLD in Haryana. All India Jat Aarakashan Sangharash Samiti (AIJASS) Yashpal Malik, who is leading the current reservation agitation, is from a UP village, and he had given a call to his community to oppose the BJP not only in western UP but also in Punjab. While the SAD-BJP alliance did lose in Punjab, Malik’s call to Jats had little to do with the defeat.
After the AIJASS call for relaunching last year’s agitation, Haryana has been witnessing dharnas in 19 districts since January 29. Now BJP leaders hope that Malik won’t able to sustain the size of the support base. “We have won 103 of total 136 seats in western UP,” pointed out Jawahar Yadav, a Haryana BJP leader, to underline the BJP’s influence in the community. “”The current agitation is not for reservation but its political agenda of Yashpal Malik,” said Yadav. Haryana Finance Minister Captain Abhimanyu, who is also from Jat community, says, “Those persons who were talking to defeat BJP in UP should understand that the BJP has secured its 90 pr cent votes from farmers.” Most Jats are engaged in agriculture activities. “The poll mandate is clear: It also means a few persons can’t misguide the entire community,” Abhimanyu added.
On the ongoing Jat agitation, Abhimanyu said, “The government is ready for talks but a few persons don’t want the issue to be resolved.”
However, unfazed by the criticism from BJP leaders, Malik said, “The poll results won’t have any impact on our agitation. The BJP has succeeded to get Jat votes because of polarisation of votes on communal lines.” Further, Malik says, “we have succeeded in our mission up to some extent as the BJP leaders were forced to invite Jat leaders to tell their side of story.”
“Not only this, the BJP gave tickets to 16 Jats, including one Jatt Sikh, and 14 of them have won in the assembly polls in UP,” he added.
But Malik conceded that UP Jats may not support the Haryana agitation. “They may wait for few months before joining the stir because they have hopes from BJP after voting for it. Now, the BJP should accept demands of Jats.”
“We don’t have any issue with BJP. They accept our demands, we will end our stir,” he said.
The Jat agitators are demanding withdrawal of all cases lodged in connection with the February 2016 quota violence in Haryana apart from reservation in central government as well as state government jobs.