As the row over Dhangar reservation continues to stall Assembly proceedings, fearing encroachment on their constitutional reservation, tribal MLAs across all parties have decided to open up a new front to counter the possible inclusion of Dhangars in their quota.An all-party meeting of tribal MLAs has been called on Wednesday by K.C. Padvi (Congress) to discuss the possible encroachment on their reservation. “One of the major issues we will discuss is the demand for tabling of report on Dhangar reservation by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. We will also discuss the recommendations of this report as it will have direct impact on our constitutional right,” Mr. Padvi said.The Assembly has 26 tribal MLAs, from 25 seats reserved for ST candidates and one from the general category seat. While the ruling BJP and Shiv Sena have 12 and two MLAs respectively, the Congress has six, Nationalist Congress Party four, and Bahujan Vikas Aghadi and Communist Party of India (Marxist) one each. “All tribal MLAs are united on this issue. There is nothing wrong in demanding that TISS report be made public. We also need to analyse it and study,” said Mr. Padvi, who is also one of the senior most tribal MLAs in the current Assembly. Other issues likely to be discussed at the meeting include action on bogus enrolment in government jobs by securing fake Scheduled Tribe certificate, holding two meetings of Janjati Sallagar Parishad (a body formed of tribal MLAs headed by state governor which takes policy decisions on tribal issues) annually. “If the bogus tribals are shunted out, there will be a vacancy of around one lakh posts. This needs to be addressed at the earliest,” he said. Asked whether ruling party MLAs would also join the meeting, Mr. Padvi said they will, as any encroachment on tribal reservation would hurt them as well.
Former Rajya Sabha member Santiuse Kujur and former Minister Gautam Roy joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday, less than 24 hours after quitting the Congress in Assam. Former Youth Congress president Hiranya Bhuyan joined them too. The three senior leaders joined the BJP at the State headquarters in Guwahati in the presence of Assam Finance and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and State BJP president Ranjeet K. Dass.