Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Thursday blamed “differing voices in the BJP” for the renewed Jat agitation for reservation. He also accused the ruling party of having no stand on the issue.
“One MP is targetting Jats while a minister at the Centre has said that the Prime Minister has assured reservation for the community. Ministers in the state government also say different things. Every one has been giving contradictory statements and this is the reason that Jats have taken to the roads,” he said.
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Talks between Jat leaders and Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar stalled on Wednesday. Khattar had promised that reservation under the Economically Backward Persons (EBP) would be increased from 10 to 20 per cent and announced that the government would include Jats, Jat Sikhs, Rors, Tyagis and Bishnois in the EBP category. The Jats though are not convinced and continued with their agitation on Thursday.
“Even though the Jats are not satisfied by what the government has offered them, the government should have continued with the talks. There has to be a dialogue to find a solution to this problem. It is for the government to tackle the situation properly,” Hooda said.
The former CM also dismissed allegations by BJP leaders that the agitation was more pronounced in Rohtak and Jhajjar, his stronghold, saying the BJP had a habit of blaming him for everything. “Even if there is some problem in Syria, they will blame me for it. The agitation is on across Haryana. It is also going on at villages in the constituencies of BJP leaders Subhash Barala and Birender Singh,” Hooda said.
He added that when Jats had taken to the streets in his tenure, he had talked to them and found a solution. “We had ensured social justice. We did not touch the existing reservation (for SC/STs). Reservation for the traditional backward class remained 16 per cent. For the landowning OBC class it was 4 per cent. For the other five landowning classes, Jats, Jat Sikh, Ror, Tyagi and Bishnoi, we gave special OBC status. Also, 10 per cent reservation was given to economically weaker sections of other castes like Brahmin, Baniya and Rajput. We left no one out,” he added.
Scuffle outside Rohtak court over protest
Chandigarh: A scuffle broke out between the advocates of the Jat community protesting in front of the Rohtak district courts, for reservation in government jobs, and a group of local residents who had come to submit a memorandum to the Rohtak DC, to urge him to end the protests. Deepak Kundu, president of the Rohtak Bar Association said, “Some people came to the protesting advocates and started shouting slogans against Jats. Around 5 to 6 advocates have received injuries. An FIR has been registered”.