Gujjar-Govt closer to solution; Raje to join in talks tomorrow

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Jaipur, Jun 16 (UNI) The Rajasthan government and agitating Gujjar leaders today moved a step further to finding an amicable solution to pave the way for putting an end to the 25-day-old fierce agitation, demanding ST status for the community, which so far has claimed at least 38 lives.

The decisive phase of ongoing talks between the agitating Gujjar leaders and the state government was put off for tomorrow after a four-hour-long discussion this evening. Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje is also scheduled to participate in final round of the dialogue process here tomorrow.

Gujjar Reservation Action Committee Convener Col(retd) Kirodi Singh Bainsla, who has been spearheading the dharna at the railway tracks in Pillukapura-Karwadi since May 23, participated actively in the talks today.

Briefing reporters on the hours-long deliberations, Col Bainsla and Government Delegation leader and Rajya Sabha member Ramdas Agrawal expressed full satisfaction over the progress in the talks and held that a conclusion would be reached after the final round of dialogue tomorrow.

The two delegates said both sides advanced further, nearer to a solution.

"We today marched several steps ahead in the right direction as compared to our yesterday's position and will reach a settlement tomorrow," Mr Agrawal, who has been involved in negotiations with Gujjars on behalf of the state government for the past one year, said.

Gujjar leader Col Bainsla also struck the same note, saying, "I am fully satisfied with the talks so far and am confident that tomorrow will be the last and final round of talks." Over the prevailing position on the Gujjar's core demand for ST status, Col Bainsla said the demand was discussed at length today and it would be finalised tomorrow.

On the ongoing dharna at the rail tracks of Pillukapura-Karwadi, Col Bainsla's close associate Capt Harprasad said it would continue till the state government's recommendatory letter favouring ST status for Gujjars reaches the Centre.

Earlier, Col Bainsla arrived here this morning to join in the talks.

Soon after his arrival at the Sanganer airport here, the Gujjar leader drove to a RTDC rest house to have an initial discussion with associate Gujjar delegates, who have been holding a dialogue with representatives of the state government since Friday.

Prior to this, a four-member team comprising two Gujjar leaders and two government officials had gone to Pillukapura yesterday to brief Col Bainsla on the progress of the ongoing talks and prospective government proposals figured during the talks to meet the reservation aspiration of the agitating community.

The Gujjar leader had also suggested certain modifications and improvements in the proposed drafts to ensure a better deal for the community.

Soon after its arrival here, the four-member team had conveyed Col Bainsla's sentiments and expectations over the draft proposals to the government, which reportedly gave the nod for considering the suggestions of modifications and improvements.

Accordingly, Col Bainsla was contacted last evening and he had given his consent to come to Jaipur to participate in the final round of talks.

Meanwhile, the Meena community's counter pressure politics continued.

The campaign, which was initiated with the resignation of BJP MLA and former minister Kirodi Lal Meena and two others from the Assembly, went on.

A group of MLAs from the Meena community, including former minister Virender Meena, met ruling BJP state president Om Prakash Mathur today to convey him their concern over the state government's "readiness" to write to the Centre favouring reservation for the Gujjars.

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