Jat leaders from across the country on Sunday warned the Bharatiya Janata Party that they would vote for its rivals if the Centre did not comply with their demands for reservation for their community, The Indian Express reported. Jat leaders from Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh united under the banner of the All India Jat Arakshan Bachao Maha Andolan.
They criticised the government for not granting their community a quota to ensure they secure seats in educational institutions and jobs and granting 10% reservation to economically weak sections of the upper castes instead. The Jat community has been demanding reservation in education and government jobs under the Other Backward Classes category.
The community’s leaders, during a press conference in New Delhi, threatened to vote for Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati during the Lok Sabha polls. “The [Congress-led] United Progressive Alliance government had given us reservation in central jobs,” Dharamveer Chaudhary, chief coordinator of the community’s leaders said. “But when it was challenged in the Supreme Court, the present [BJP-led] government deliberately did not argue our case well and the government order was quashed. Since then, the Narendra Modi government has just been giving us assurances.”
Chaudhary threatened to campaign against the BJP in 131 constituencies where the community has a significant population.
The leaders criticised the Congress and the BJP for failing to represent their community and said that their MPs will be “welcomed with shoes”.
“The prime minister met us on March 26, 2015, at his residence and said you are a brave community and we will give you reservation in a proper way” said Chaudhary. “Ahead of the Uttar Pradesh polls, [BJP national president] Amit Shah said we will give you reservation and we voted for BJP. But BJP did not walk the talk.”
Dr Prem Kumar, another Jat leader, said, “When it came to giving reservation to the forward castes, the government has finalised everything in seven days,” Kumar said. “We have been agitating for years. In Haryana, this is going to be the core issue. It will have political implications.”
The community’s protests in February 2016 had taken a violent turn, with thousands of protestors blocking highways and burning public properties worth crores. At least 30 people had died and more than 300 people were injured during the protests.