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32 Jats in Assembly but not looking for ministerial berths, says Rajasthan Jat Mahasabha head Raja Ram Meel

Jats were miffed with the Congress High Command when Ashok Gehlot was made the Chief Minister in 1998 although the party won under PCC chief and one of the tallest Jat leaders Parasram Maderna.
Last Updated : 13 December 2023, 13:01 IST

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Jaipur: Despite winning a major chunk of Assembly seats every five years, Jats in Rajasthan are yet to see a chief minister from their community.

Jats, which form about 15 per cent of Rajasthan’s population and has had a winning streak of over 30 candidates in the last few Assembly elections, are still left yearning for a chief minister from their community. Especially after Bhajanlal Sharma, a Brahmin, was anointed to the top post in the desert state yesterday.

Jats insist they form 20 per cent of the population. The community was included in the OBC in 1999 by the Atal Behari Vajpayee government.

However, with the BJP helming Rajasthan now, Jats are not expecting anything and are not even looking out for ministerial berths this time, informed Raja Ram Meel, president of Rajasthan Jat Mahasabha to Deccan Herald. “The top post and ministerial berths all boil down to setting the caste equations right. If we had won 50 or above, we could have staked claim. That was what we thought before the elections. But with only 32 Jats who have won, we don’t qualify for making that claim, more so with BJP in power, which is a different kind of party.”

Just before the elections, the Jat Mahapanchayat had demanded that both Congress and BJP give 40 tickets each to Jat candidates and that if 50 Jats are able to win, then they would demand a chief minister from their community.

In 2018, Jat candidates formed the biggest caste group in the Assembly, getting 37 seats out of the total 200.

In 2023, Jats would form the third largest group in the Assembly after SC who have won 35 seats. STs have 34 in their kitty. Then come Rajputs who have around 20 seats and Brahmins have cornered about 16 seats and Baniyas (vaishyas) around 14. Despite getting a much lesser number of seats than Jats, BJP has reposed faith in a Brahmin for the CM post, and in Rajput and SC for deputy chief ministers’ posts.

The Shekhawati and Marwar belts are dominated by the Jats. Jats in Sikar, Jhunjhunu and Churu in the Shekhawati belt have influence over 21 seats and the rest are in Marwar region of Nagaur, Barmer, Jaisalmer, Jalore and others like Tonk, Bikaner, Ajmer. The community has influence over 50-60 seats. The OBC community is visible in the section of 10 to 15 per cent Jat MLAs every year.

Jats have been traditional Congress voters. “But Jats have been angry with Ashok Gehlot, Sachin Pilot and even Govind Singh Dotasra, a Jat himself, because of the infighting and consequent losses they made to the party. Jats voted in favour of BJP this time,“ says Meel.

Jats were miffed with the Congress High Command when Ashok Gehlot was made the Chief Minister in 1998 although the party won under PCC chief and one of the tallest Jat leaders Parasram Maderna. Gehlot from the Mali community got the top post while Maderna had to settle for the Assembly Speaker’s post. Another tall Jat leader Ram Niwas Mirdha, was perhaps a probable CM candidate. Jat leader Sis Ram Ola wanted to go for the top post in 2008 but was edged out by Gehlot.

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Published 13 December 2023, 13:01 IST

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