Updated: September 4, 2021 8:45:25 pm
During his visit to Gujarat on Saturday, Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale said that Patidars or the Patel community in Gujarat cannot be included as OBC (Other Backward Class) for reservations and also said that his Republican Party of India supports one-child policy.
In response, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel later said that expanding the OBC list now is in the purview of state governments and any remarks from “an outsider” about the same can be disregarded.
Interacting with mediapersons at the Circuit House in Ahmedabad, Athawale said, “They cannot be included among OBC, but a different category can be made for them and given reservation”, and added that economically backward Marathas of Maharashtra, Patidars of Gujarat, Jats of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and Rajputs of Rajasthan who earn less than Rs 8 lakh a year should get reservation.
Reacting to the comment later in the day, Nitin Patel said in Gandhinagar, “Recently, as per the law passed in the Parliament by the Government of India, any state government can include any caste or community within the OBC list after conducting a survey. So now any remarks made by the any Union minister or any leader from a political party is not needed,” Patel said on the sidelines of an event.
“The Gujarat government need not worry about any remarks made about a community from Gujarat by a leader or outsider,” he said that the rules and process for conducting the survey for inclusion of communities within OBC list is yet to come from the Centre.
The Union minister said that he will speak to Chief Minister Vijay Rupani about the atrocities happening against Dalits in the state, and also said that his party supports one-child policy as the population growth in the country needs to be controlled for ensuring development.
“In comparison to other states, the development in Gujarat is better,” Athawale said during his interaction with media persons at the Circuit House.
There is a need to control the population for the development of the country, irrespective of whether it is the population of Hindus or Muslims, he said and added, “If we adopt one family, one child (policy), we would be able to reduce population. For now we have ‘hum do, hamare do’… Our party’s stand is that to reduce population, there should be a law for ‘hum do, hamara ek, (one family, one child).” He added that he would take up the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
When asked about atrocities on Dalits in Gujarat, the minister said, “The attempt of our government is to give justice to everyone. Even today, atrocities are committed on Dalits across the country and casteism still exists… If a Dalit wears good clothes, people do not like it. If a Dalit rides a horse for his marriage, it is not liked by others. Same is the case, if a Dalit buys property. But the attempt of our government is to change this situation.”
“I have sought time to meet the chief minister. Our party is committed to protecting the rights of Dalits. I will talk to the chief minister if anything special needs to be done regarding the atrocities,” he added.
Earlier this year, The Indian Express had reported about cases of atrocities — a Dalit man in Viramgam attacked for sporting a moustache in May, a Dalit RTI activist hacked to death in Bhavnagar in March, a Dalit farmer assaulted over land dispute in July — and stone-pelting at the wedding processing of a Dalit Army jawan who rode a horse in Banaskantha district in February, 2020.
Asked about a recent remark of Gujarat deputy CM that people would be able to talk about Constitution and secularism only so long as Hindus are in majority, he said there was no possibility of Hindu population dwindling.
“Hindus remain Hindu and Muslims remain Muslim. Hardly one or two Hindus or Muslims convert. The Constitution gives people the right to do what they like, but nobody can force any person to covert,” Athawale said, speaking to reporters here.
About the upcoming Assembly elections in Gujarat, Athawale said his Republican Party of India will align with the BJP for the elections. “The attempt will be to get more seats than last time,” he said.
With PTI inputs
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.