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The Gujjar agitation for reservations comes up again, what will Gehlot do..




The politics of reservation has changed the political dynamics of India, and caused huge turmoil. The riches that reservation promises caused even groups that are not really deprived to want these benefits, especially when they can see other groups benefiting. And woe to the politician who does not agree to such demands. So, even castes which do not fall in the backward category will fight for getting such benefits. The situation in Rajasthan is one good example of this. The Meena caste was granted reservation in jobs, and as a result, there are a large number of empowered Meenas in various Government jobs, including the powerful posts such as police, the local bureaucracy. And once they are given such benefits, no group would ever agree to the removal of such benefits even when they really do not need such benefits anymore; and of course, no politician would ever suggest such a course of action.
So it is happening in the case of Rajasthan, where the Gujjar community has seen the benefits that the Meena community has got, and got into the act of demanding these benefits. However, what happens is that the Supreme Court has set a 50% limit on the amount of reservation, and even over-turned the attempts of the politicians to move these benefits into a non-judicial review process through the use of the Ninth Schedule (the Supreme Court declared that there is nothing that is beyond the power of judicial review, and that the 9th schedule is no longer valid). And in Rajasthan, the current amount of reservation was already 49%. So, the political class was unable to do anything much, and could only hope that by delaying the process, and by discussions and other such time delaying stuff, the agitation could lose steam, and even better, the movement can be divided.

So, whether it be the BJP or Congress Government in Rajasthan, they all knew that they could not meet the demands of the Gujjar community (or could meet only to the extent of 1%, not the 5% that the Gujjar community wanted). Finally, after some years, the effort by the Government to give a 5% reservation came up in court, wanting that the total amount of reservation would go to 54%. And as expected, the court struck down the enhanced reservation limits, and also criticized the Government for not doing the proper study about the backwardness of the Gujjar community before granting the reservation.
The leaders of the Gujjar community did not take kindly to this court decision, and criticized the Rajasthan Government for not doing the proper case preparation in court, which would have made the court take a different decision. However, the Government is stuck in a tight spot. The Gujjar community is very easily capable of disrupting rail and road movement in some important corridors, and because of the political impact, the Government will not take the desired hard steps to ensure that there is no impact to the transportation networks. This agitation has been going on for some time now, and as a result, there are already significant economic costs of the disruption to the transportation networks. But, the only thing that the Rajasthan Government can really do is to go in for more discussions and try to divide the leaders of the community.




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