Jaipur, May 30: Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje today made a fresh offer for talks to the Gujjar community to discuss the issue of reservation.
Raje defended her suggestion for a separate quota for the Gujjars under the Nomadic Tribe Category, saying that it was very much under the Constitution. Earlier, Raje had sent a letter to the Centre recommending separate reservation for the Gujjars within the ambit of the Constitution. According to the Centre, Raje's recommendation for granting reservation to Gujjars by classifying them as nomadic tribe was not legally tenable.
Gujjar leader Retired Colonel Kirori Singh Bainsla said he would consider talks with the Raje Government provided it made a "proper proposal". However, the Gujjars will not settle for anything less than Scheduled Tribe (ST) status, he added.
The Gujjars are currently classified as Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and are entitled to quotas in state-run education centers and in government jobs, but they want to be listed under the ST category. In Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, the Gujjars have been given ST status. But in western Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Gujarat where they are mostly settled on land and involved in agriculture, they have been categorised as OBCs. In 1999, the government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) included the Jat community on its OBC list who form nearly 15 per cent of the State's population. The demand of the Gujjars was also fuelled by the success of the Meenas, a large community in the State who were granted ST status in 1954. Meanwhile, normal life was disrupted by a rail and road blockade enforced by Gujjars in Delhi and adjoing areas on Thursday,when Bainsla, had asked the community members to observe the "Martyrs' Day" across the country.