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Govt to consider Jat demand for central OBC status
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 5
Ahead of the Assembly elections in many states this year and the 2014 and Lok Sabha polls, the government today said it would consider the long-pending Jat demand for grant of ‘Other Backward Class’ (OBC) status in the central OBC list.

The assurance followed a meeting between Social Justice Minister Kumari Selja and a high-level Jat delegation of Akhil Bharatiya Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti. “We will consider the Jat demand for central OBC status,” Selja told The Tribune.

National president of the Samiti, Yashpal Malik today demanded immediate inclusion of Hindu, Muslim and Sikh Jats in the Central OBC list maintained by the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) set up after the Mandal Commission report to grant the OBC reservation to people. Jats argue that they are similar or worse in social status to many OBCs already in the Central list.

In Haryana, Jats are a politically important class and comprise 26 per cent of the population while across India they number 10 crore.

At present, OBC status for Jats is available non-uniformly across India considering states can grant OBC status to a certain class of Jats who can be from among Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims.

Rajasthan Jats are in the Central OBC list with an exception of Jats in Bahadurgarh and Dhaupur districts where the erstwhile rulers were from the community and were, hence, left out. Similarly, Haryana Backward Commission included Hindu and Sikh Jats in the state OBC list but excluded Muslim Jats while the Muslim Jats of Gujarat are in the Central OBC list but not Hindu Jats.

In Haryana particularly, it would be politically gainful for the Congress to grant central OBC status to Jats who have traditionally supported the Indian National Lok Dal. Although the Hooda government recently created a special category for Jats, Sikh Jats, Bishnois and Roars granting them 10 pc quota, the same is unlikely to stand the scrutiny of law as it oversteps the 49.5 pc quota ceiling set by the Supreme Court.

At present, Jats, primarily peasants, are based in UP, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Punjab, Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir with some presence in Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh.

Jat factor

  • The Jats are a politically important class in Haryana and comprise 26% of the state’s population
  • Congress stands to gain from the moves as Jats have traditionally supported Chautala’s INLD
  • OBC status for Jats is currently non-uniform across India





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