Rajasthan: Vaishya community demands 20% tickets in polls, more reservation

During a mahapanchayat, the Vaishya community of Rajasthan demanded adequate representation and increasing EWS quota to 15%

Illustration: Binay Sinha

Illustration: Binay Sinha

BS Web Team New Delhi

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Rajasthan's Vaishya community held a mahapanchayat on Sunday, demanding 20 per cent seats be fielded to community candidates in all parties in the upcoming assembly and Lok Sabha polls, according to a report by the Hindustan Times. They argued that since the community had a significant population in the state, it should be appropriately represented in the parties.

During the mahapanchayat, community leaders also voiced other demands. This included an old age pension for traders, the formation of a welfare commission dedicated to the Vaishya community, and increasing reservation for economically weaker sections (EWS) to 15 per cent, among others.

This comes after other communities, including the Brahmin community sought higher representation in politics and more reservation.

Presiding over the mahapanchayat, Pradeep Mittal stated, "The event is organised because the community isn't getting adequate political representation. I want to convey to political parties that the Vaishya community represents 20 per cent of the population in Rajasthan, but their political representation is minimal. I appeal to them to provide proportional representation in the upcoming polls."

Rajasthan's technical education minister, Subhash Garg, also supported the demand to establish a commission for the community, believing that the mahapanchayat would be a milestone in this regard.

Former Jaipur mayor Jyoti Khandelwal highlighted the community's substantial contribution to tax revenue, stating, "There was a time when the community had 56 MLAs in the House, but today it's only 15. We need to regain that level of representation."

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Senior Congress leader Sitaram Agarwal encouraged community members to vote more actively, as increased voter turnout would lead to improved political representation. He emphasised that the demand for pension would only be realised when there is adequate community representation in the legislative body.

Former minister and BJP MLA Kali Charan Saraf also addressed the gathering, advocating for an increase in EWS reservation to 15 per cent from 10 per cent and raising the income limit for this category to Rs 12 lakh from Rs 8 lakh. Saraf also raised concerns about the security of traders due to the deteriorating law and order situation and called for the formation of a traders' welfare commission. He urged Congress and BJP to allocate 20 per cent of their tickets to ensure the community's security.

Saraf proposed the establishment of a tax advisory board, with over half of its members representing the Vaishya community. These demands found support from BJP MLA Ashok Laboty, who also stressed the importance of community unity and voting in a coordinated manner.

The Rajasthan state assembly elections are slated for the end of 2023 or early 2024.

First Published: Sep 18 2023 | 5:38 PM IST

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