Punjab Cabinet recently gave its approval to include Saini and Swarnkar/Sunar communities in the list of Backward Classes of the state on recommendations of the Backward Classes Commission.A decision to this effect was taken by the Cabinet in its meeting held under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in Chandigarh on Saturday. This decision would help the Saini and Swarnkar/Sunar communities to avail various benefits of government welfare schemes, it said.
However, the government decision, followed by the notification issued on September 12, came as a shocker for many as it virtually created a split in the community, with one group strongly opposing the decision and another welcoming it with open arms.The group demanding the revocation of the government decision claims that Sainis are quite hardworking people and being skilled they know how to earn their livelihood with grace, whereas the other group see it a goodwill gesture of the state, although came near polls, to give additional support to the community at various platforms.
Claiming it to be a wrong decision of the government, in which they find their own community members to be blamed upon, the agitating group claims that it was a non-acceptable gesture of the government as they don’t want to be considered as ‘backward’, with also claiming that except from few (at individual level) there was hardly any demand on the community level for the same.
The group standing against the government decision has hardly any hitch in revealing their huge properties and assets for the purpose to build pressure on the government to take u-turn. Unwilling to carry the status of BC on their shoulders, a group is also holding meetings across the state to mobilise masses against the government decision stating that they would not like to move “from prosperity to backwardness.”
In an apparent mood of waging war against the government and the leaders of own community, whom the group sees as the ‘trouble-makers’ for having say in the corridors of power, the agitators term it a mere election stunt of the state government.Justifying their anger they also impress upon a point that the inclusion of Saini and Swarankar communities into BC list, where the two would be entitled to 15 per cent share in the total reservation share of 10 per cent awarded to all communities falling in the BC list, they would be getting hardly any benefit of the change.
Seeing it nothing but a cruel joke, the group standing against the reservation demands the government to either implement the OBC category in the state or let them all remain in the general category. And to add weight behind their claim, apart from naming various personalities of their community having earned name at national level, they also state that numerous among them have married wards in the general communities and the reservation could introduce some kind of disturbance in their social relations.
Interestingly, the government decision has made them all busy as they were all done even about a decade ago when the government had to put on hold the notification issued in this regard. Now, both groups are busy in convincing masses if one section goes and motivate people to thank the government for the giving, the other group is touring the state to channelise the energy of masses to build pressure for the cancellation of the notification.
Amid this tug-of-war among the two sections of the community, the state government has come in a Catch-22 situation, where at one hand it is being thanked by the Sainis for issuing notification and on the other hand, every day it is receiving letters demanding the revocation of the orders.With elections not being very far, the SAD-BJP government will have to settle the issue at the earliest otherwise this “goodwill gesture” could harm them in the voting as the tension is simmering high with each passing day.