Over 11 years after Mulayam Singh Yadav as then Chief Minister made an attempt to include 17 backward sub-castes into the list of Scheduled Castes, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has made a similar attempt to woo the most backward castes just few days before expected notification for the forthcoming Assembly elections. Interestingly, Mulayam Singh’s decision as CM then was later turned down by the court as the matter comes under the purview of the Centre.
In a Cabinet decision Thursday, Akhilesh cleared the proposal for considering 17 backward sub-castes — Kahar, Kashyap, Kewat, Mallah, Nishad, Kumhar, Prajapati, Dhivar, Bind, Bhar, Rajbhar, Dhimar, Batham, Gauriya, Turha, Majhi and Machhua – as SCs after consulting “legal experts”. The state government also decided to send the fresh proposal for the same to the central government as well.
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“Based on the advice of legal experts including former Chief Justice, government has decided to give a clarification that these castes are exactly similar to the castes already listed as scheduled castes…” Chief Secretary Rahul Bhatnagar told The Indian Express.
CM Akhilesh Yadav has written several letters to Centre in this regard over the past five years, including letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On February 28, 2013, a Cabinet meeting chaired by Akhilesh Yadav had cleared the proposal for inclusion of these 17 castes into the SC list, which was later sent to Union Social Welfare and Empowerment Department but was rejected by the Centre. Then in March 2013, State Assembly had also passed a resolution asking the central government to include these castes in the SC list.
The state government clarified Thursday that after the earlier proposal was rejected by the Centre, opinion was sought from legal experts as well as Advocate General, Uttar Pradesh, who had advised that these 17 castes can be given benefits of Scheduled Castes by adding “a clause” in the existing notification of the Personnel Department. Taking this into account, “decision has been taken to send a proposal to central government to define these 17 castes also as scheduled castes,” an official release by the state government said.
This is mere drama: Mayawati
Calling the Akhilesh Yadav government’s assent to include 17 ‘Other Backward Castes’ in the SC list as “mere drama”, BSP chief Mayawati on Thursday said the decision is both “unfortunate and condemnable” and aimed at deceiving these communities.
“After having neglected all the backward castes barring one in the past five years of its rule, the SP government is out to mislead them in the same vein as was done by the then Mulayam Singh Yadav government,” she said in a statement.
This decision is against the law as it is only the Central government which can include any caste in the SC list, she said, adding after the Mulayam government’s decision on this issue, these castes had been left in the lurch for they then belonged neither in the OBC nor in the SC list.
She claimed that it was the BSP government that had succeeded the Mulayam Singh Yadav government, which reverted the decision bringing the castes back in the backward list and sent a proposal to the Centre for inclusion only on condition of increasing the quota of the SC.
Lashing out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for comparing opposition parties stalling Parliament with Pakistan giving cover fire to terrorists to cross the border, BSP chief Mayawati said the comment was “indecent” and “showed his frustration”.