Jats, Kapus, Patels: Why BJP will struggle to handle the 'reverse reservation' problem

The Jat protest in Haryana, which has taken a serious shape and also saw death of a few, was brewing since last year. The state's Jats announced a protest on New Delhi's Jantar Mantar in September and the Jaat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti (JASS) had begun a nationwide drive to bring into its fold more youths from the community to work for the reservation battle. The recruitment for the Jat Yuva Sena started in August and the youths were provided with bamboo sticks and a Facebook page and Whatsapp group were also launched to join the Jat army.

[Jat crisis: BJP's inexperience and non-Jat CM have made things difficult]

From there, the Jats now have taken the movment to the next level, blocking railways and roadways, destroying public property and have even posed threats to Delhi by ways of dusrupting supply like water.


JASS's Haryana state unit chief Dharampal Chaut had said last August that it would not be difficult for them to suffocate Delhi by blocking water and power supply besides disrupting the communication links and also power and oil pipelines that have been laid on fields that are owned by the Jats.

The harm reckless patronage in the name of reservation has done to India

This idea of suffocating Delhi, the headquarters of India's political establishment, to meet their aim is a very dangerous one. And when the Jat leaders say that the time has come to look beyond politics and panchayats and unite all Jats to extract the benefits, one understands the harm that the reckless charity of our politicians have done to the country in the name of reservation.

Today, there is a counter demand for reservation

The rise of the Patidar, Kappu and Jat demands for reservation, despite the fact they form a dominant and influential section, makes it evident that the evil intention of playing vote politics with the idea of reservation has now unleashed a counter-force which, if not checked soon, will gobble up the very roots of our democracy.

No amount of police or military power can check protests like those happening in Haryana now except for a temporary cooling off. But the only mechanism to address this issue, which is democracy itself, has been left so discredited by its leaders over the years that it also looks helpless today in the face of a new demand of what can be called a 'reverse' reservation.

BJP will struggle because it has little skills in micro-managing the Hindus

The BJP will be particularly struggling to deal with these uprisings precisely because it is not very skilled in politically micro-managing the Hindu social groups and banks mainly on the identity of the religion as a monolithic whole. The saffron party lacks faces that can help its case among diverse and lower groups for its evolution and focus has mainly been around religious 'us' and 'them'. It either speaks for universal development or universal religion, overlooking the fissures within the body politic only at its own peril.

The BJP is more comfortable in handling the Hindu identity as a whole

In this regard, one can easily conclude that the BJP hasn't been able to replace the Nehruvian Congress in terms of the democratic fusion it was known to nurture. The BJP only speaks about a certain type of nationalism which is actually a type of ethnocentricism. But when rifts within the Hindu religion as a whole come out in the open, the BJP finds itself clueless because it doesn't have the leaders or the ideology that can accommodate diversity.

The polarisation caused by Mandal politics in the early 1990s had helped BJP in religious terms

The BJP had found it an easy thing to do in the early 1990s when the government of late VP Singh called for reservation for the lower rungs. For BJP, it was a golden opportunity to rush towards its goal of Hindu solidarity and raked up the majority sentiments around Ayodhya and withdrew its support from Singh's fragile government following the arrest of LK Advani in Bihar in October 1990. The BJP had won 120 seats in the next Lok Sabha election in 1991, 118 more than its tally in 1984!

But today, the polarisation within the majority community is a big challenge for BJP to meet

But today, when dominant groups in states ruled by itself are raising demands for reservation, the party, which even didn't highlight the OBC background of Prime Minister Narendra Modi before and during the trend-setting 2014 Lok Sabha election, doesn't know how to deal with it apart from force.

The BJP loves polarisation on religious lines but hates the same socially.

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