Gujjar leader Kirori Singh Bainsla’s presence in Jodhpur on Sunday may be an indication that new political equations are being forged in the state, which put the Rajasthan Gaurav Yatra of chief minister Vasundhara Raje in jeopardy.
Bainsla was in Jodhpur to meet leaders of the Rebari community, which, like Gujjars, is demanding reservation under the special backward classes (SBC) category. He has pledged Gujjars’ support to the Rebari protest.
The Rebaris, also known as Dewasi and Raika, are a community of cowherds present in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana and Karnataka, apart from Rajasthan.
Earlier this month, the Gujjars and the Rajputs came together to protest Gaurav Yatra in the Bharatpur division, leading to its cancellation.
Rajasthan BJP president Madanlal Saini said, “Some people of some community could have personal grievances against the party, but I am confident that they will not oppose the yatra that is being taken out in the larger interest of the people of the state.”
The Rajputs are demanding their inclusion in the other backward classes (OBC) for reservation in jobs and educational institutions. They led a symbolic march against Gaurav Yatra in Udaipur on August 3, a day before chief minister Vasundhara Raje began the yatra from Charbhujaji Temple in Rajsamand, part of the Udaipur division.
But on August 8, leaders of Rajput Arakshan Manch met Bainsla at his Jaipur house after the Gujjars declared they will not let Gaurav Yatra pass through community-dominated Sawai Madhopur and Karauli districts (in Bharatpur division).
A road blockade on Sawai Madhopur-Agra highway put up by the Gujjars was only lifted when the government announced cancellation of yatra in the Bharatpur division. Now, the yatra will resume from the Jodhpur division from August 24.
“The government’s modus operandi is to delay, diffuse and deny. We have been waiting for 5% reservation for a long time. If the government wants me to resort to my old practice (of blocking rail tracks and vandalism), so be it,” said Bainsla.
“The Rebaris and the Rajputs are with us on the demand for reservation. We urge the Brahmins also to join hands with us – you imagine the consequences when we are united,” added the Gujjar leader, who’s been the face of community’s protests since 2006.
On Sunday, Congress national general secretary Ashok Gehlot issued a statement against the CM over the yatra, alleging it was an election rally being funded by government coffers.