NEW DELHI: The Centre is ready to discuss on Jat reservation, said Union Rural Development Minister Birender Singh on saturday.
Mr Singh, who was accompanied by Union minister Sanjeev Baliyan and Haryana minister OP Dhankar, was speaking at the BJP’s national headquarters at New Delhi. The three leaders are from the Jat community which is seeking reservation in government jobs and higher education.
“We have been assured by our national leadership that we should go and speak with the people of our community…The political parties should also help in this process. We also want to appeal to people of Haryana to deal with this situation,” Mr Singh said, as he appealed to Jat organisations to come forward for talks.
A delegation of the community’s leaders will meet Home Minister Rajnath Singh tonight.
Protests demanding reservation, which broke out on February 15, have turned violent with three protesters reportedly killed and several injured in Haryana’s Rohtak yesterday. The Army was called in last evening in several parts of Haryana.
Mr Singh, who had quit the Congress before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and joined the BJP, criticised the Congress-led UPA for giving reservation to the community “only for political gain.” The UPA had given reservation to the community under the OBC quota but it was struck down by the Supreme Court in March last year. The Centre filed a review petition in the top court in April 2015, which is pending.
“The agitators must stop the protests and step forward to hold dialogue. I am sure a solution will manifest through dialogue,” Mr Singh said.
Earlier in the day, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said the government is willing to accept the demands “within the ambit of the Constitution.”