Quota row: Talks between Gujjars-Raj govt resume



Jaipur: Fresh talks are on between the Gujjars demanding reservation in jobs and the Rajasthan government to end the 17-day-long standoff even as both sides expressed optimism about the outcome of the talks.

A delegation led by Gujjar leader Kirori Singh Bainsla is holding the sixth round of parleys with a committee of ministers comprising Energy Minister Jitendra Sigh, Home Minister Shanti Dhariwal and Transport Minister B K Sharma, official sources said.

According to the sources, the negotiations are at a final state and Gujjars may call off their agitation after the meeting.

Roop Singh, Bainsla's aide said, "Today's meeting with the government is focused on only two points - five per cent reservation and withdrawal of cases against the agitators, and a positive outcome is expected today."

Bainsla may also meet Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot after this meeting.

Last night, Gujjars and state Energy Minister Jitendra Singh had made positive noises after the 5th round of talks but consensus eluded the two sides on the main demand of five per cent quota in state jobs for the community.

"I have come with an open mind to meet the government. We want a permanent solution because lot of people have to suffer along with the community. We hope that the issue would be resolved. General opinion has been formed on majority of the issues," Bainsala said late last night.

The first and second round of talks to end the deadlock took place at Pilukapura and Bayana in Bharatpur district while the third and fourth round of meetings between the two sides were held in Jaipur.

Bainsla arrived here last evening to attend the fifth round of talks and met Singh at his official residence along with his community people.

The agitation, which began on December 20, has seen the Gujjars blocking several rail and road routes, causing harship to people and loss to various industries in the state.

The agitators have been blocking Mumbai-Delhi rail tracks at Pilukapura in Bharatpur, and Jaipur-Agra National Highway at Dausa and several other roads in support of their demand.

PTI