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Centre push for Jat quota

New Delhi, Dec. 19: The Union cabinet today sought advice from the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) on whether Jats can be included in the central list of OBCs.

The reference was for nine states, three of which recently voted out Congress governments amid reports that the Jats were unhappy with the party. Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi have sizeable Jat populations.

The cabinet move is being seen as an attempt to court the community again ahead of the summer general elections. The other states are Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Bihar.

The Jats already figure on the list of OBCs in the nine states. The cabinet reference is for inclusion in the central list. A group of ministers constituted this August had made “positive suggestions” for a Jat quota, sources said.

“The cabinet decided to ask the NCBC to expeditiously review the matter and revert,” said Union minister Manish Tewari, who briefed reporters after the cabinet meeting this evening.

The decision assumes added significance against the backdrop of reports that the polarisation of the Jats and the minority community in western Uttar Pradesh led to the Muzaffarnagar riots.

The Jats have traditionally backed Congress ally Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal but both are worried about a churn and shift of loyalties to the BJP.