FISSURES IN the BJP have come to the fore yet again on the issue of reservation for Jats. While Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and his Cabinet colleague OP Dhankar said the government was open to talks with Jats, ruling BJP MP, Rajkumar Saini, called it “sedition” and “high-handedness” of Jats. Jats have been sitting in protest across the state for the past 11 days. Besides reservation, Jats are demanding compensation and jobs for the families of those killed in the February quota stir last year. Another demand is that cases registered against the youth be withdrawn.
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Talking to The Indian Express, Saini said no one can be stopped from sitting in protest, but what the Jats are doing is “high-handedness”.
“Demands are made by requesting, not by threatening. Their demands are not justified. They have burnt people’s houses.
Now, they are saying give jobs and compensation. This is blackmailing. Their problem is that the CM’s chair is not with them any more,” said Saini, adding that the way the Jats are giving ultimatum, it amounted to sedition.
He also expressed displeasure at the manner in which the government has dealt with cases against Jat leaders. “There are several cases registered against Jat leaders. However, no action has been taken. These cases need to be investigated, otherwise, the leaders will continue with their activities. Though, this time, if Jats try to create unrest, the government is ready to take stringent action,” warned Saini.
The Jat leaders have been opposing the statements made by Saini time and again and even sought action against the MP by the BJP leadership. The Prakash Singh Committee report had named Saini among the politicians in the state who made inflammatory statements that “added fuel to the fire”.
The Haryana CM, meanwhile, said that though the Jats could approach the five-member committee constituted under the chairmanship of the chief secretary, doors of the government were always open for them and they could meet him directly.
About no action being initiated against Jat leader Yashpal Malik, who is leading the protest and against whom a case of sedition was registered, the CM said everyone had the right to put forth his or her views in a democracy. “Till it is peaceful, we have no objection. But, if it crosses the limit, we will take strict action as per law. I am sure the protests will remain peaceful.”
Echoing the same, Agriculture Minister O P Dhankar said the government has dealt with all issues patiently. “We have agreed to most of the demands made by the protesters. Compensation has been given. The families of youths who died are being given jobs. All options of the government are open. If they want, they can talk to us.” He added that the protests were being held with an eye on elections in Uttar Pradesh. However, it will not have any impact on the BJP vote, insisted Dhankar.