JAIPUR: The Mali community on Sunday held a ‘maha panchayat’ in the Rajasthan capital to demand 12 per cent reservation in jobs and higher education as well as increased political representation in the state and at the Centre.
The panchayat, attended by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, was called nearly a month after members of the community blocked the Jaipur-Agra National Highway to press for their demands. The BJP leaders were chief guests at the meet.
आज जयपुर के विद्याधर नगर स्टेडियम में आयोजित माली महासंगम कार्यक्रम में शामिल होकर हजारों की तादात में उमड़े समाज के लोगों को संबोधित किया। ऐतिहासिक सफल आयोजन के लिए सभी को बधाई।
समाज बंधुओं का मेरे प्रति यह स्नेह और प्यार हमेशा ऐसे ही बना रहे। pic.twitter.com/FYkskCc2hV
— Vaibhav Gehlot (@VaibhavGehlot80) June 4, 2023
Maurya’s speech at the event was disrupted after a large number of participants raised slogans in favour of Chief Minister and Congress leader Ashok Gehlot, who is a member of the Mali community. Birla did not address the ‘maha panchayat’ and left the programme. The 11-day-long protest on the highway was called off on May 2 after the state government assured that the Rajasthan OBC Commission will conduct a survey in view of the community’s quota demand.
The reservation demands have to be fulfilled by the Centre, but it will have to be routed through the state government, advocate Anubhav Chandel, a Mali community member who was present at the event, said and added that Chief Minister Gehlot has written to the prime minister over the issue.
Demands for quota have also been raised by other communities such as Jats, Brahmins, Rajputs and SCs and STs ahead of the assembly polls in Rajasthan. Elections in the state are due at the end of this year.
Senior Congress functionaries and the chief minister’s son Vaibhav Gehlot, who is the Rajasthan State Cricket Association’s president, were also present at the ‘maha panchayat’ organised at the Vidhyadhar Nagar stadium.
The ‘maha panchayat’ passed a 11-point resolution, which stated that Mahatma Jyotiba Rao Phule and Savitri Bai Phule should be honoured with the Bharat Ratna, and the Saini, Mali, Kushwaha, Shakya, Maurya, Suman, Vanmali, Bhoi Mali community should be given 12 per cent reservation on the basis of their economic and social backwardness.
At least one ticket in each district from a national political party in the assembly polls and one ticket for the Lok Sabha elections should be given to a member of the community, it said. Other demands included availability of resources to connect the extremely backward class society with the mainstream by releasing the figures of the 2011 caste census. Speaking on the occasion, Maurya said in the 2018 Rajasthan assembly polls, while the BJP gave six tickets to members of the Mali community, the Congress gave four.
”If we unite then the number can increase to 20 based on the community’s population,” the BJP leader said. ”I assure that I will strongly present the 11-point demand raised by the community at the Centre,” he said. His speech was disrupted after some people raised slogans in support of Ashok Gehlot.
Addressing the gathering, BJP Rajya Sabha MP Rajendra Gehlot said, ”The community’s population in the OBC category is highest. We demand that like central government, the state government should also increase the OBC quota to 27 per cent in Rajasthan.”
Appointment should be made to the post of chairperson of the Rajasthan’s OBC Commission, which is vacant for the past four years, he said. Former BJP minister Prabhu Lal Saini said getting reservation is the right of the community as it is backward. Vaibhav Gehlot said the social work done by Jyotiba Rao and Savitri Phule for society is commendable and added that with the blessing of the people his father became chief minisiter for a third time. This gave him him the opportunity to bring public welfare schemes, he said.
Source: Press Trust of India