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Gujarat polls: Vaghela’s Jan Vikalp Morcha joins the quota bandwagon

Shorab Negi | Ahmedabad |

With all major political parties coming up with their election manifesto for the upcoming Gujarat Assembly elections 2017, now Shanker Singh Vaghela, the former minister of Gujarat and the leader of his nascent Jan Vikalp Morcha, had come up with his party’s manifesto promising special 10 per cent quota from within the 27 per cent reservation meant for the OBCs for the most backward classes.

Those who shall be covered in this 10 per cent quota will be: Koli, Thakor, Bajaniya, Yogi Raval, Devipujak, Madari, and Vagher communities.

‘Bapu’, as Vaghela is popularly known, stated that these most backward classes are a part of the OBC community itself and but have been deprived of 27 per cent reservation benefits that are given to the OBCs in the state.

Vaghela also mentioned that a new corporation named Koli Thakor Development Corporation will be created in place of Koli-Thakor Development Board for which the front government shall set aside Rs. 1000 crore every year.

Not only has Vaghela kept his manifesto OBC centric, but has also favoured Patidars by promising to provide a 25 per cent additional quota in government jobs.

Interestingly, even though Vaghela had quit the Congress Party in July 2017 and launched his new outfit Jan Vikalp Morcha, his new party could not be registered due to a paucity of time and hence, Bapu’s party will contest the upcoming Gujarat Assembly Elections as the All India Hindustan Congress (AIHC).

Not only this, he has also borrowed the AIHC’s party symbol which is a ‘farmer driving a tractor’. There were speculations that Vaghela might join the BJP, that’s when he put all the rumours to rest by launching Jan Vikalp.

The Jan Vikalp campaign states people’s need to have other options other than BJP and Congress. Their campaign also promises to resolve issues faced by traders after the implementation of GST.

Synchronising his party campaign with the manifesto, he stated that Jan Vikalp will defer the implementation of GST for one year, and especially work towards the exclusion of certain basic needs like food, shelter (houses) and clothes from its scope.

Besides the reservation for OBC and Patidars, Vaghela is also promised a monthly unemployment allowance for the educated youth. Different slabs have been created where an allowance of Rs 3,000 will be given to all those who have cleared class 12, for graduates, the amount shall be Rs 4,000, and for post-graduates, it shall be Rs 4,500.

Additionally, he also assured people of easy loans to build houses for families who didn’t have any house and health insurance coverage for families having an annual income below Rs. 6 lakh. The premium of which shall be borne by the government.

Another thing he has mentioned in his manifesto is that he shall strive towards the creation of a ‘Gujarat Regiment’ in the Army.

A total of 74 candidates of Bapu’s party will contest in the first phase of the Gujarat Assembly Elections 2017 on 9 December.