Fearing the scrapping of caste-based reservation system, the Other Backward Classes (OBCs), Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) Friday announced that an umbrella organisation of the three groups — OSS Ekta Manch — and its office-bearers will be declared on October 6. OBC leader Alpesh Thakor, who is heading a movement in Gujarat to counter the agitation of the Patel community for reservation, said the Centre should provide reservation to every community in proportion with its population. Thakor said that such 100 per cent caste-based reservation was the best solution to end agitations by various communities, especially the Patels, on the issue.
Thakor addressed a press conference in this regard and announced that they had almost formed OSS Ekta Manch and its office-bearers and various committees would be declared on October 6. He also said that OSS Ekta Manch would organise big conventions in Himmatnagar and Mehsana on October 23 and October 25, respectively.
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Issuing a list of demands related to reservation already in place for OBCs, STs and SCs, Thakor claimed the support of more than 100 MLAs and 15 MPs from Gujarat. He added that OSS Ekta Manch office-bearers would handover their demands to all the district collectors on a particular day, to be announced later, in October.
Thakor demanded the state government to make clear as to how many of the 21 recommendations of the Mandal Commission, did the latter implemented from the year 1992 to 2015. The list of demands also include reservation for OBC, STs and SCs in private sector companies which are getting financial assistance in one form or the other and political reservation for OBCs.
Thakor also demanded that the state government should announce the number of government vacancies filled between 1992 & 2015 and as to what extent the rules of reservation policy were implemented in it.
He also demanded that the government should make the figures of caste-based census, done in 2011, public and each community should be given reservation as per its population.
Asked to comment on the Congress party’s demand of having 20 per cent reservation for economically weaker sections of upper castes, Thakor said, “Upper castes are 22 percent in population. And if they get 20 percent reservation, then we are 54 percent in population, and we are getting 27 percent reservation…I think figures of 2011 caste census should be made public and each community should be given reservation as per its population. That will resolve the issue.”
Thakor said that he would not participate in Himmatnagar and Mehsana conventions if, the government did not want to give it permission because of him.
He then accused that the Gujarat government itself did not seem to have tranquility in the state. He alleged that people have been making inciting statements and yet government was maintaining a stoic silence instead of taking steps.
“So far, nobody from OBC, ST or SC community has made any inciting statement that can spoil the peace and harmony,” Thakor said. Thakor also said that they feared that the hidden agenda behind Patidar agitation for reservation was nothing, but a move to scrap the reservation policy. And therefore, he added, the OBCs, STs and SCs had come together to protect their constitutional right.