By Ashish Jain
Contention for becoming the first chairman of Rajasthan State Shraman Sanskriti Board (RSSB) is growing by day. Rajasthan is the first state to set up such a board in the country for Jain minority community, which has submitted similar proposal with Madhya Pradesh government also. Though the population of Jain Rajasthan is less than 1% but the community, majorly involved in trade and business, has a great influence on the government. Out of 29 ministers in the Gehlot cabinet, two – Shanti Dhariwal and Pramod Jain Bhaya – belong to Jain community.
The Buckstopper.com spoke with leading people in the Jain community to feel the pulse. After intense deliberations few names cropped up who can be nominated for becoming chairman of this board. Apart from chairman, board will have one vice chairman and three members.
Dinesh Khodania: He is an old hand in Congress with a great rapport with chief minister Ashok Gehlot. He is a member of AICC also with inroads in central leadership. He has multiple businesses and has been active in Dungarpur Sagwara politics in southern Rajasthan. A Digambar Jain, he is also active in various social and cultural forums. He is the chairman of All India 18000 Dasha Humad Digambar Jain Society. He has a key role in persuading the government to set up this board.
Anil Jain: A retired IPS, Jain had been in CM security team for 10 years during Gehlot's previous two terms. He has been awarded with Police medal and President's Police medal for his distinguished services in force. Jain has been active in social work and a leading contender for this post in view of his selfless service to the society and due to his wide network. He is the president of Digambar Jain Maha Samiti Rajasthan and is also associated with Digambar Jain Social Group in various capacities.
Mahesh Kala: A leading businessman, Kala is also actively involved in education and social activities. He is associated with Shri Mahaveer Digamber Jain Shiksha Parishad which operates schools and college in the state. He is also associated with Shri Veer Sevak Mandal, a group of Jain dedicated to social service.
Sudhanshu Kasliwal: An ace advocate, Sudhanshu Kasliwal is the chairman of Digambar Jain Atishaya Kshetra Shri Mahaveer Ji Karauli, Rajasthan Committee, which manages the famous Shri Mahaveerji temple in Karauli. Kasliwal has a good sway over his community and is regarded as one of the best legal brains in the country. The government may consider him as he has great influence over Jains, specially people form Digambar sect.
Girdhari Singh Bapna: A former advocate general in Gehlot's last tenure Girdhari Singh Bapna is one of the closest aides of the chief minister. Gehlot is said to have stayed at his (Bapna) house for some time during initial days of state politics. Bapna is a Swetambar Jain with great influence over his community. His proximity with chief minister puts him in the contention.
The main objective of the board would be to preserve the ancient traditions and culture of Jainism, one of the oldest religions in the world. The board will also propagate the beliefs and teachings of Jainism and motivate people to embrace nonviolence and truth.
The board will be constituted for a period of three years. Apart from five members from Jain society, it will also have members from government side including secretaries and commissioners of various departments. The deputy director of social justice and empowerment will be the member secretary of the board.
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