Pattali Makkal Katchi founder S. Ramadoss on Sunday announced a first round of protest from December 1 demanding 20% separate reservation for the Vanniyar community in education and jobs in Tamil Nadu. The second round of protests will begin from January.
It was one of the three resolutions passed at the general body meeting jointly held with Vanniyar Sangam. The resolution further said that protest committees have been formed and urged the cadres to place banners explaining the reasons for the protests in villages.
Speaking at the meeting, Dr. Ramadoss appealed to Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami to implement 20% reservation for Vanniyars unlike former DMK president M. Karunanidhi.
Kalaignar gave us rotten mangoes. You give nice Salem mangoes. It is in your hands to end this protest, he said. Dr. Ramadoss warned the State government that the protests will be as intense as the Patel agitation in Gujarat and Gujjar agitations in Rajasthan for reservations if the demands are not accepted. The protests should be so intense that the government should say that they are accepting our demands in four days. We are prepared to face any consequences. Vanniyars in other parties should also participate in these protests as your children will also benefit, he said. Providing a historical context, Dr. Ramadoss accused the past and present leaders in Tamil Nadu of actively working to deny their rightful share in education and jobs. During Kamarajars administration, 38 castes were clubbed and the Most Backward Classes category was created. However, no reservations were provided for this category. In 1972, Kalaignar removed the MBC as a category. Later on, during MGRs administration, he set up Ambashankar Commission, which recommended that the 34 communities in Backward Classes should be removed as they have enjoyed the reservations. However, MGR added 29 upper castes into the Backward Classes category, he said.
Kalaignar added 15 upper castes and MGR added 29 upper castes to the backward caste category. Vanniyars cannot compete with them. This is why we are asking for separate 20% reservation for them, he said.
When he met Mr. Palaniswami personally and raised the partys demands, the Chief Minister was not receptive, Dr. Ramadoss alleged. Though we are in alliance with AIADMK, there is no use. The reason for this is that they want Vanniyars to be the community that works for others, he said.
Pointing to the examples in Andhra Pradesh and Kerala where proportional representation is being implemented, he said, In Kerala, there was a time when Nairs and Namboodhiris would look at Ezhavas only when they were 32 feet apart. But, today they are holding State and Central government jobs. The reason is that separate reservations were provided for Ezhavas.
PMK youth wing leader Anbumani Ramadoss said the demand for separate reservations should not be seen merely as a caste issue.
It is not a caste issue but a developmental issue. This issue has to be resolved if Tamil Nadu has to grow. If we divide Tamil Nadu into four parts -- north, south, west and Chennai, we can see that north Tamil Nadu has fallen behind in terms of education when compared to others. So, we see it as a developmental issue. If Vanniars grow, Tamil Nadu will also grow, said Mr. Anbumani. All political parties and communities will accept this demand. There are no hurdles in agreeing to our demands, he said.