Skip to main content

Gujarat OBCs warn BJP govt: Don't heed Patidar demand for reservation, lest you will be thrown out of power

By Hitesh Chavda
If things move the way they are moving, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Gujarat is heading for a major confrontation between upper caste reservationists and other backward castes (OBCs). This seemed clear enough from the well-represented OBC rally in Ahmedabad on Sunday, which warned the Patidars, wanting an OBC status, that their demand would not be taken “lightly”.
Held amidst loud slogans of "OBC zindabad, Dalit zindabad, Adivasi zindabad", the OBC leaders, mainly numerically strong Thakores, told the participants in the rally that " if Patidars come in their way they would not keep quiet” but “hit back.”
Claiming to have the support of Dalits and Adivasis in their fight to keep their OBC reservation status, which is 27 per cent in Gujarat, a senior OBC leader said, “Let him come and live a few days in Gujarat. He would know that his Gujarat has changed.”
“The OBCs are only following Dr BR Ambedkar”, he claimed, announcing, “We will go with our mission to districts and talukas.” Equating the condition of OBCs with that of the Dalits, he said, “Just like Dalits, we are not allowed equal housing rights. Like Dalits, we are also looked down upon.”
Alpesh Thakore, who was the chief organizer of the rally, in which around 15,000 OBCs participated, warned the BJP government that if it allows Patidars with OBC status, they should be prepared to face the worst. “In the forthcoming 2017 assembly elections, we will ensure that they do not return to power”, he added.
The OBC rally comes just two days ahead of the Patidars’ reservation rally, scheduled for August 25. Already, the OBCs have formed dozens of Save Reservation Committees across Gujarat in order to counter the Patidars’ tough demand for OBC status.
Last Friday, the Patidars held a reservation rally in Vadodara where over one lakh are reported to have participated. Earlier, Patidars held well-attended rallies with the participation of three lakh people in Surat and one lakh people in Patan.
According to OBC leaders, the Patidars constitute only 12 per cent of the population in Gujarat, and have always been upper castes and cannot be included in other category under any circumstances or any pressure.
“We will not allow our quota for OBCs to be cut for any other community,” said Alpesh Thakor, leader of the Save Reservation Committee. “The situation is volatile and will spill into clashes if the government does not intervene and control it,” he added.
In Gujarat, there are over 146 castes, including over a dozen Muslim castes, which have been recognized as OBCs. Well-known Dalit rights activist Martin Macwan believes, the way things are moving in Gujarat, things would move in a violent confrontation. “This is what I am afraid of”, he said, adding, “Unfortunately, people have increasingly begun thinking in terms of caste, which is very dangerous.”
Other experts say, the current agitation might turn into a violent OBC-upper caste clashes, as they happened during the Congress rule of Madhavsinh Solanki, who introduced reservation benefits for OBCs based on recommendations of Bakshii commission, which recognised 81 communities as socially and economically backward. Subsequently, others governments kept adding more communities in the list.
Solanki, who came to power riding on an alliance between Kshatriyas, Harijans, Adivasis sone as many as 149 of 182 assembly seats in the state assembly, highest ever. Among Kshatriyas he included both upper caste Rajputs and OBC Thakores, a community to which he belonged, and which are descendents of the foot soldiers in the pre-independence era, and Kolis, a fishing community along the coastline.
According to National Sample Survey Organization data, OBCs, who also include several other smaller communities as well, forms about 40 per cent of Gujarat’s population.

Comments

TRENDING

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam*
In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Hindus to be 'sent' to Kashmir? Despite Israeli settlements, peace eludes the region

By Anand K Sahay*
Curfew, news and communications blackout, transportation shut-down... News reports from Kashmir are worrying. So are the views relayed through the media, especially television. Old-fashioned repression seems to be consorting comfortably with expressions of concern “for our Kashmiri brethren”. We are looking at Orwell’s 1984 in the making.

UN experts object to GoI move to 'reinforce' trend of prosecution, eviction of tribals

Counterview Desk
In a report sent to the Government of India, three United Nations (UN) special rapporteurs, expressing "concerns" over the failure to ensure "adequate" implementation of the India Forest Rights Act (FRA), have regretted that the Government of India has not cared to reply their previous communications on this.

RSS 'demonizing' Muslim demographics: Hindus' growth rate decline 2.5% lower

By Mohan Guruswamy*
The RSS is riding its old hobbyhorse again. Addressing the Yuva Dampati Sammelan attended by reportedly 2000 young couples organized by the RSS’ Kutumb Prabhodan in Agra on August 21, the RSS Sarsanghchalak, Mohan Bhagwat, apparently concerned about the “declining Hindu population” exhorted young Hindu couples to have more children.

River interlinking to transfer tribals' drinking, irrigation water to Maharashtra industries

Counterview Desk
Top advocacy group, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), recently submitted its comments on the Damanganga–Vaitarna-Godavari Intrastate Link project to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), a project sought to be packaged by the Maharashtra chief minister as diversion of water from allegedly water surplus Konkan region to the drought-affected Marathwada region.

As submergence stares Narmada valley, Patkar says: With powerful in throne, we're helpless

Counterview Desk
Well-known anti-dam organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), plans to begin its “Resist Illegal Submergence in Narmada Valley” satyagraha on August 21 at Jantar Mantar, Delhi, amidst news that the situation in the valley is “critical”, with two persons having already died in flood-related incidents in the upstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam.

Govt of India 'has no plan' to reduce energy, fossil fuel consumption, emissions

Counterview Desk
In his representation to the secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Government of India on draft National Resource Efficiency Policy (NREP), 2019, top power policy analyst Shankar Sharma has insisted that there is imminent need to consider the economic activities at the national/international level very carefully from the perspective of climate change.

Here's proof: Manual scavenging is rampant, Ahmedabad isn't open defecation free

By Parsottam Vaghela*
Authorities of Ahmedabad, the largest city of Gujarat, may have gone into full swing in its cleanliness drive under the Swachh Bharat mission after the city was awarded the open defecation free plus (ODF+) certificate by the Union government’s Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. However, my visit to some of the areas of the walled city of Ahmedabad on August 7 in order to ascertain whether it has become open defecation free suggested that the claim is a total humbug.

RTI Act holy cow for Govt of India? Official insists, don't ask why, when, what, where

By Pankti Jog*
The Government of India appears to have begun treating the Right to Information (RTI) Act as a holy cow. Its officials seem to believe that the Act is a sacred law, under which people shouldn't be questioning its functioning. One recalls what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while addressing an RTI convention in 2015: “Why should government wait for people to ask information, we will have all information out in the domain, we have nothing to hide."

Quit India Movement 'betrayal' and dubious role of Hindu Mahasabha, RSS leaders

By Shamsul Islam*
After the recent guillotine of Article 370, Hindutva ideologue Ram Madhav, while celebrating the occasion stated that it was honouring of the sacrifices of Dr Shyam Prasad Mukherjee and thousands others who laid down their lives for its removal. It is to be noted that Dr Mukherjee was a cadre of RSS and was groomed into a Hindutva leader by another Hindutva icon, VD Savarkar.