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Amit Shah going to cool tempers

BJP president Amit Shah will be in Ahmedabad on Saturday for the first time after the big rally held by those agitating for Patidar (Patel) reservation and the police crackdown which led to the death of 10 people.

The visit is ostensibly for the festival of Rakhi but its significance cannot be downplayed since he also continues to be an MLA from the area.

In a high-level meeting by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with senior Ministers here on Wednesday, the party decided to reach out to the community.

‘Quota demand anti-social’

Chief of the BJP’s Other Backward Classes (OBC) Morcha S.P. Singh Baghel has said the demand of the Patels for reservation benefits was “anti-social, and against the principles of social justice.”

“Anyone can demand reservation, but it has to fulfil the criterion of social and educational backwardness. The Patels hardly fall in that category.” He said it was still very difficult for existing OBCs to access reservation, and if dominant communities like the Patels entered the category, it would become impossible.

His contention is borne out by figures. According to written replies given by the Department of Personnel and Training, as of January 2013, only 17.71% of Central government employees came through the OBC quota, as against the legally mandated 27%.

“If the Patels are included then smaller and less prosperous castes in the OBC group like Nai, Prajapati, Lauhar, Noniya, Maaldhari, Saahus should be moved to the scheduled caste category,” he told The Hindu.

Mr. Baghel’s comments make it clear that the party is determined to fight the fallout of this movement on Bihar polls without compromising on the stance taken by the Gujarat government.

Earlier, a senior party leader said that Nitish Kumar’s endorsement of the Patel agitation will not affect the party’s chances in Bihar. “The BJP has the largest number of OBC MPs and at least two Kurmi (Patels are called Kurmis in Bihar and U.P. where they are in the OBC list) Ministers in the Union Cabinet, along with a tie-up with the Kurmi-led Apna Dal in U.P.,” said the source. The plan seems to be to isolate the Patel demand as harming the larger cause of OBC empowerment.

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Printable version | Mar 2, 2021 11:50:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/gujarat-violence-amit-shah-going-to-cool-tempers/article7591767.ece

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