Haryana assembly unanimously passes Jat quota bill; Congress keeps away

Chandigarh, March 29 (IANS) The Haryana assembly on Tuesday unanimously passed a bill to provide reservation to Jat and other communities. The opposition Congress legislators kept away from the session when the bill was passed.

There was immediate opposition to the bill from leaders of other communities and even some Jat leaders as well as a BJP parliamentarian.

The Haryana Backward Classes (Reservation in Services and Admission in Educational Institutions) Bill, 2016, was passed by voice vote in the ongoing assembly session within 15 minutes of being introduced. It was moved by Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. No debate took place on the bill.

While the ruling BJP and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) legislators were present inside the assembly when the bill was passed, the Congress legislators were not present.

The Congress lawmakers, according to party sources, kept away from the session on Tuesday to protest the six months’ suspension handed down to three Congress legislators by the speaker on March 15. The legislators were suspended for tearing copies of the Governor’s address. The Congress has 14 legislators in the 90-member house.

The state cabinet on Monday cleared the bill that proposed to provide reservation to the politically-dominant Jat community and four other communities — Jat Sikhs, Tyagis, Bishnois and Rors.

Khattar, who claimed that the bill passage was a “historic day” for Haryana, said his government fulfilled the promise made to Jat and other communities for reservation in government jobs and educational institutions.

“The bill was brought after a lot of research. Every category will gain from this bill. It will be a win-win situation for all. There will be no loss to anyone (community),” Khattar told media after the bill was passed.

Jat leaders seemed divided on the bill passed in the assembly.

While Jat leader Hawa Singh Sangwan welcomed the bill, another Jat leader, Yash Pal Malik, said the bill has not done enough for the Jat community.

Congress leader and former minister Ajay Singh Yadav, who is from the OBC community, described the passage of the bill as a “black day” for Haryana.

BJP MP from Kurukshetra Rajkumar Saini, who has been opposing reservation for Jats, said it was a “murder of democracy”. Saini has been opposing reservation to the politically-dominant Jat community in the state.

“The bill will give statutory status to Backward classes Block ‘A’, Backward classes Block ‘B’ and Backward classes Block ‘C’ by enacting the Haryana Backward Classes (Reservation in Services and Admission in Educational Institutions) Act, 2016, and request the Central Government to include this Act in the 9th Schedule read with Article 31B of the Constitution of India,” a state government spokesman said here.

The bill provides for increase in percentage of reservation in Schedule I, II and III for Class I and II posts for BC ‘A’, BC ‘B’ and BC ‘C’ from 10 percent, five percent and five percent to 11 percent, six percent and six percent respectively.

It was also decided to increase the existing reservation of five percent for Economically Backward Persons in General Caste Category in Class I and II posts from five percent to seven percent.

The Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state had promised reservation for the Jat community and others after the recent Jat agitation for reservation left the state paralysed for nine days.

As many as 30 people were killed and 320 injured and property worth hundreds of crores of rupees was destroyed during the nine days as the agitation turned violent.

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