The ashes of Gurjar leader Kirori Singh Bainsla were immersed in the Pushkar lake on Monday as thousands turned up to pay their last respect in a show of strength by the community ahead of Rajasthan Assembly polls.
Kirori Singh Bainsla, a retired lieutenant colonel, had spearheaded several agitations in the state for reservation in government jobs and educational institutions for the people of five communities including Gurjar. He died on March 31.
Thousands of people belonging to Most Backward Castes (MBC), including Gurjars, gathered in Pushkar for the ceremony. Assembly elections are likely to be held in Rajasthan in December 2023.
Prior to the immersion of ashes in the holy Pushkar Sarovar, a mass meeting was organised which was attended by both BJP and Congress leaders.
Those present in the meeting included BJP MP and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, BJP state president Satish Poonia, Congress MLA and Industries Minister Shakuntala Rawat, and Sports Minister Ashok Chandna among others.
However, former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot, who is also from the Gurjar community, was not present at the meeting.
As soon as Rawat, Chandna and other Congress leaders got on the dais, Pilot’s supporters in the crowd started hooting upset over the former deputy chief minister allegedly not being invited to the programme.
Some of them even also hurled shoes towards the stage, however, the footwear did not make contact with anyone as they fell short of the dais. Police had to be called in to control the situation.
Speaking to reporters before the meeting, Kirori Singh Bainsla’s son Vijay Bainsla said MBC voters play a decisive role in 75 of the 200 assembly constituencies in Rajasthan but they have not been given their due share by political parties.
”Seventy-five constituencies have 31,000 to 78,000 MBC voters and they play a decisive role in elections but the communities do not get appropriate representation. Political parties will have to think about this,” he said.
”The members of the community have assembled here to pay homage to Colonel Bainsla and to take social and political decisions,” he added. Vijay Bainsla undertook an ‘Asthi-Visarjan Yatra’ on August 17 which traversed through 75 assembly constituencies dominated by MBCs before reaching Pushkar on Saturday night.
Through the yatra, Vijay Bainsla mobilised Gurjars as well as several other communities under the MBC category.
Elaborate security arrangements were made by police in Pushkar to handle the huge crowd which started gathering from Sunday.
He said the mass meeting was organised to discuss political and social issues. During the meeting, the participants paid tributes to Bainsla.
Poonia said true homage will be paid to Bainsla when a son of Gurjar will get into administrative services and girls and women will be educated.
Kirori Singh Bainsla and Vijay Bainsla had joined the BJP ahead of 2019 Lok sabha elections. Kirori Singh Bainsla was earlier in the BJP as well and had fought the 2009 Lok Sabha polls from Tonk-Sawaimadhopur seat but lost.
He had cordial relations with both the BJP and Congress.
After his death, Vijay Bainsla, through the Asthi-Visarjan Yatra and today’s mass meeting, is trying to mobilise the community in the run up to the assembly polls even as the ruling Congress and opposition BJP are eyeing the MBC votebank in the state.