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Eye on poll, Mayawati bats for ST status to Gujjars

Jaipur, February 17
With an eye on Assembly elections in Rajasthan, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati today said her party favours ST status for Gujjars but without disturbing the share of other castes.

Gujjars should separately be categorised and a percentage be fixed for them and they be given ST status, the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister told a party rally at Vidhyadhar Nagar stadium here.

The ST quota should be raised so that no other castes are hurt including Meenas, she said.

Gujjars have been agitating for over an year but the Vasundhara Raje government has failed to find a solution. The Meenas have also gone against the Gujjar community.

Mayawati said, "It is their genuine demand and the state should put this up before the Centre."

Blaming both the Congress and BJP for trying to "abolish the quota system", Mayawati said she would provide quota to all SC, ST, OBC and economically poor among upper castes in the private sector if the BSP is voted to power at the Centre in the next general elections.

"I have provided quota in private sectors in Uttar Pradesh and the results are very encouraging," she said.

She said the BSP would adopt a Uttar Pradesh pattern of social engineering by taking along people of all upper castes including Brahmins, Jat and Gujjars. She added that only social brotherhood can change the scene of politics and make parties accountable in the future.

According to her, there is an urgent need to write a new reservation policy covering economically poor people of all castes.

Mayawati promised to extend the present National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) round the year instead of 100 days.

She dealt at length on the pro-poor policies initiated by the BSP government in UP and asked the people to support the BSP to extend the policies at the national level by bringing her party to power in Rajasthan.

She said the present NREGS is a farce as only one member of a family is assured 100 days job at present which is highly inadequate and wanted the scheme to be made a year-long programme.

She promised that on similar lines as UP, her party would give on lease unutilised government land for farming to poor farmers. She said 20 lakh acres of land had been leased out to farmers at the rate of three acres per farmer in Uttar Pradesh till now. She promised the same scheme in Rajasthan.

The meeting was also addressed by BSP general secretary Satish Mishra who asked the upper castes to support and work for the BSP in a big way as the party stands for the poor of all sections irrespective of caste and religion. PTI, UNI



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