Wednesday, March 14, 2012

[ZESTCaste] ST/SC legislators demand Rajya Sabha seat for General candidate

ST/SC legislators demand Rajya Sabha seat for General candidate
TNN | Mar 14, 2012, 06.55AM IST

JAIPUR: In a shift from the normal, Congress parliamentarians and
legislators from the reserved Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe
(ST) communities from the state are lobbying hard to get a Rajya Sabha
seat for a non-reserved communities' candidate from Rajasthan's
Vagad-Mewar region.

State minister Mahendrajeet Singh Malviya led a team of the ruling
party's half-a-dozen legislators form the Vagad-Mewar region to plead
their case before chief minister Ashok Gehlot on Tuesday. The same
group along with Dungarpur-Banswara MP Tarachand Bhagora earlier met
Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi and the party affairs' in-charge for
Rajasthan Mukul Wasnik with the demand.

The reserved communities came up with the demand since the
non-reserved communities in the Vagad-Mewar region were barred from
contesting direct elections on majority of the seats after the latest
delimitation of constituencies got implemented in the 2008 assembly

"Ours being a notified tribal sub-plan area (TSP), the general
community members cannot contest any direct election right from a
village sarpanch to a Lok Sabha seat from here. We, therefore, want a
respectable post for the general communities also and the indirect
election of Rajya Sabha is the only option," Malviya told TOI on

The twin districts of Dungarpur and Banswara constitute the Vagad
area, while the Mewar comprises Udaipur, Chittorgarh, Rajsamand and
Pratapgarh districts. The Vagad-Mewar combined region has 28 assembly
seats and four Lok Sabha seats. Of these 17 assembly seats and two Lok
Sabha seats are reserved for the ST/SC communities. The Congress holds
all the four Lok Sabha seats and 20 assembly seats in the region,
while one assembly seat elected a Congress rebel Nana Lal Ninama, who
is currently part of the Gehlot government as parliamentary secretary.

At a time when most of the direct elections in the region were slotted
for the reserved communities, the general communities in the Vagad
districts launched a movement - The Samta Andolan - to demand same
concessional benefits for themselves as were given to the ST/SC
communities here. The movement supporters justify their demand with
the argument that when the entire region has been notified as tribal,
all communities residing here should be treated as backward.

Considering the general communities' resentment against being
politically and economically "marginalised", the ST/ST legislators and
parliamentarians believe that a Rajya Sabha seat for a non-reserved
communities' candidate from here would keep the Congress's political
base strong in the Vagad-Mewar region. The opposition BJP is also
facing the same demand from its workers here.

While the Congressmen are lobbying for a local businessman Dinesh
Khodania, the BJP men are said to be forwarding the case of one of its
former Nagar Palika president Shankar Singh Solanki. Elections for
Rajasthan's three Rajya Sabha seats - two of which are held by the
Congress and one by the BJP - will be held on March 30, as these seats
will fall vacant on April 4.

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