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Bill to amend Scheduled Tribes list in Uttar Pradesh before 2022 polls


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NEW DELHI:  The BJP’s social engineering for the upcoming Uttar Pradesh elections appears to be taking shape, with the government listing a legislative proposal to amend the list of Scheduled Tribes (STs) for the poll-bound state in the upcoming winter session of Parliament. A similar bill to amend the list of STs in Tripura, where the BJP is facing heat from the Trinamool Congress, is part of the proposed legislative business. 

In all, 26 new bills and three others that had already been introduced, have been lined up for the forthcoming session. The bulletin released by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday also listed a bill to repeal the three contentious farm laws that were enacted by Parliament last year. 

While Parliament had earlier this year amended the list of SCs in Tamil Nadu following a recommendation from the state government, a senior minister in the UP Cabinet said the state administration hasn’t yet forwarded any such proposal. He, however, added that Parliament on its own can amend the list of STs in the state to address long pending demands of certain communities.

As for Tamil Nadu, Parliament had classified certain castes in the SC category ahead of the Assembly elections in the state. While Sonabhadra and its adjoining districts of UP have tribal concentrations, there has been a growing demand for the inclusion of fisherfolk in the state in the list of STs. The fishermen community is electorally influential. 

“The Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2021” seeks to amend the list of STs pertaining to UP. A parallel one for Tripura has been listed in the agenda of the official business for introduction, consideration and passing in the Lok Sabha. 

The BJP’s poll mantra in UP, incidentally, for the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections and the 2017 Assembly polls had been the consolidation of the non-Yadav other backward classes (OBCs), with focus on the most and extremely backward castes, which were previously supporting the BSP. 

With the rival Samajwadi Party making attempts to stitch a larger pre-poll alliance with smaller parties that have distinct caste identities, the BJP is trying hard to play catch-up, knowing full well that multiple caste groups in UP have the numbers to change the electoral outcome. 

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)