Gujjar agitation shadow looms over BJP national executive

June 1st, 2008 - 8:24 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, June 1 (IANS) The shadow of the on-going Gujjar agitation in Rajasthan loomed large over the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national executive here Sunday with heavy security and absence of Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje being the talking points. The BJP office on Ashok Road here was turned into a fortress with heavy police presence, fearing a march to the party headquarters by the Gujjars. The road was barricaded and only the press and party leaders were allowed to go past.

The Gujjars have been agitating in Bharatpur and other parts of Rajasthan demanding Scheduled Tribe (ST) status. The clashes have led to disruption of several train services and more than 35 agitators have lost their lives. A big group of Gujjar pro-reservationists has also moved to Delhi and held demonstrations at Jantar Mantar.

This group also met BJP president Rajnath Singh last week to press for its demands.

When asked about the Gujjar agitation and the steps being taken by the BJP to handle the situation, BJP spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad said: “It is for the government of India to take a decision on giving ST status to Gujjars. The Rajasthan government has already suggested 4-6 percent reservation for Gujjars under the denotified category”.

Raje kept away from the proceedings on the first day of the national executive raising more eyebrows.

“She is busy in bringing the situation in the state back to normal after the serial blasts and the Gujjar agitation,” Prasad said.

The national executive members from the states presented their reports Sunday. In states where the BJP is in power, the norm is that the chief minister presents the report.

“There is no need to worry. The Rajasthan report will be presented by party state unit president Om Prakash Mathur,” Prasad said.

However, party insiders said Mathur, who does get along well with Raje, was likely to be critical of her.

“It is true that reports from the states going to polls soon are crucial,” Prasad confessed.

Elections are due in Rajasthan in November this year.

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