Playing the caste card ahead of Assembly elections, the Akhilesh Yadav government on Thursday gave its assent to include 17 Other Backward Castes in the Scheduled Castes (SC) list. A Cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav this morning cleared the proposal in this regard, officials said. The proposal, considered to be aimed at wooing the OBCs in the coming elections, will now be sent to the Centre for clearance, they said.
The 17 sub-castes which the government wants included in the SC category are Kahar, Kashyap, Kewat, Nishad, Bind, Bhar, Prajapati, Rajbhar, Batham, Gaur, Tura, Majhi, Mallah, Kumhar, Dheemar and Machua.
Earlier in March 2013, the Uttar Pradesh Assembly had passed a resolution asking the Centre to include 17 castes of the state into the list of Scheduled Castes (SC) category.
In the resolution presented by Social Welfare Minister Avdhesh Prasad and passed by the voice vote in the House, it was stated that in a detailed study by UP SC/ST Research and Training Institute, these 17 castes have been found “deserving” to be included in the list of Scheduled Castes (SC).
The Mulayam Singh Yadav government too had passed the resolution in the state Cabinet in February 2004 and had sent recommendation to the Centre for inclusion of these castes in SC list in December 2004.
Later, Mulayam went ahead and issued a government order on October 10, 2005 giving SC benefits to these castes, which was, however, struck down by the High Court.
Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh are likely to be held early next year.