'Where are the Jobs?" Jats Join Patels, Kapus to Send Violent Message to Govts
NEW DELHI: The Army has been called out, ten persons have been killed, and yet the Jats across Haryana have refused to back off with the violence, and with it curfew, spreading across the state.
Ostensibly the agitation, led by the youth without a clear leader as the government itself has admitted, is about reservation. But as Jat leaders explaining the agitation pointed out, it is all about employment and jobs. Janata Dal(U) leader K.C.Tyagi, who had entered politics through the one Jat leader who has not found a replacement till date Charan Singh, told The Citizen, the Jat boys have had enough and they are not going to accept Khattar’s word because they obviously do not trust him.
Jats who have fanned out across the state now have made it clear that they want the government to issue an Ordinance meeting their demands. Nothing less will work, they said,
The Jats in Haryana, as in Western Uttar Pradesh, Tyagi pointed out have land, they are not socially backward like the Dalits but given the rising cost of agriculture they do not have money. They need jobs that are not being made available, with the Green Revolution states of Haryana and Punjab turning sour as a result. The youth in both are angry and disaffected, with the Jats taking the lead to bring the state to a halt. Education is another issue in Haryana affecting the youth.
Sources said that the efforts to make the government listen have fallen flat with Khattar, being a non Jat and allegedly biased Chief Minister. Interestingly the BJP government in Haryana as seen as anti-Jat largely because Khattar has been quietly holding conventions for a year now addressing this constituency. The campaign as the sources said, has acquird an anti-Jat hue in the state sparking off the confrontation.
Local BJP leaders had persuaded the top brass to appoint a non Jat CM with at least two powerful leaders making it clear that they were even prepared to leave the party if this was not done. Khattar was the choice, with the Jat leadership left almost entirely to the opposition including Om Prakash Chautala and the former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
The protest, spreading like wildfire, seems to have caught the governments in both the state and the centre---preoccupied with the JNU issue---unawares. The government panicked and brought out the Army that had to open fire to quell the mobs, and yet despite the deaths the stir has not ceased. In fact given Saturday’s developments it intensified.
Employment, despite claims of a Shining India, has become a major issue for the youth in India with the public sector shrinking rapidly, and the private sector looking for skilled and more highly educated personnel. The Patels stir that rocked Gujarat with the state government paralysed for days as the youth turned violent is a case in point. Leader Hardik Patel was finally arrested and put in jail on sedition charges, with the state government seemingly determined not to let him out. Patel’s popularity was huge, and again the BJP searched for mentors until it became clear that he was on his own, and his USP was his simple statements asking for reservation and jobs. The protests subsided after he was jailed, but the problem exists and has certainly not gone away.
A third major community that only recently demonstrated its power and disaffection are the Kapus of Andhra Pradesh, The protesters, again largely youth, burnt train bogies and blocked railways lines and the highways to highlight their demand for reservations. That again means employment. This followed inaction and the apathy of the Chandrababu Naidu government in the state, more so as both he and his BJP allies had reportedly promised the Kapus reservation during the election campaign. This protest has subsided but as a senior journalist from Hyderabad said, “the issue is simmering and can erupt at any moment.”
It is not clear whether the central government has a gameplan to address this huge challenge, more so as the economy is drooping and the Prime Ministers pet Make in India scheme projected as a job multiplier has not yet taken off. The alienation is growing with the youth in even Gurgaon that also faced the violence clearly not impacted by the anti-national slogan being raised as what many senior Opposition leaders had said was “diversionary tactics’ by the BJP. The diversion, if indeed it is that, has not worked in Haryana.