Hundreds of members of the Jat community on Sunday met Congress President Sonia Gandhi and thanked her for her role in getting the government to ask the backward classes commission to take a quick call on granting them reservation in central government jobs.

Ms. Gandhi, in turn, surprised the community members by stepping outside her residence to greet them.

Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, his son, Deepender Singh Hooda, and former Speaker Balram Jakhar were among the prominent leaders who called on Ms. Gandhi.

The visit by the Jat leaders assumes significance in the light of the Union Cabinet decision which is being seen as an effort by UPA to woo the community ahead of Lok Sabha polls in 2014.

Expressing his gratitude, Mr. Deepender Hooda said the doors for the community were closed following a National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) decision in 1999, but added that things looked positive for them with the Union Cabinet’s direction to the former.

The Cabinet had on Thursday asked NCBC to take a final call on granting Jats OBC status at the central level.

The Cabinet decided that the NCBC should reconsider its 2011 decision in which it had rejected the demand for Jat reservation in central government jobs.

The demand for reservation for Jats has come from nine states — Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand and Bihar.