BSP chief Mayawati Monday attacked the Uttar Pradesh government for including 17 Other Backward Classes (OBC) in the Scheduled Caste list, terming the move a "big fraud" and demanded its immediate withdrawal. Mayawati claimed that a similar "unconstitutional and illegal" move was made by the previous Samajwadi Party government to cheat these castes, but her party had opposed it even then.
"This is a big fraud with the members of these 17 castes. They will neither be able to receive benefits under 27 per cent quota of the OBC, nor under the SC category as the state government cannot list or remove them from any of the categories through its orders," she said.
She said that in 2007 her government had requested the Congress dispensation at the Centre to include the 17 castes in the Scheduled Caste list. "We had demanded that SC quota be increased so that benefits for the category do not get harmed due to the inclusion of the 17 castes. It is unfortunate that neither the Congress, nor the BJP government at the Centre did anything about it," she said.
The BSP president demanded that the state government immediately withdraw the "undemocratic order" and increase the SC quota to ensure that the category's interests were not harmed. Last week the state government had issued a directive to include 17 OBCs in the Scheduled Caste list. They are Nishad, Bind, Mallah, Kewat, Kashyap, Bhar, Dhivar, Batham, Machua, Prajapati, Rajbhar, Kahar, Kumhar, Dhimar, Manjhi, Turaha and Gaudia.
The move can steal the opposition's thunder, especially of the SP and the BSP which have tried to sympathise with these 17 Other Backward Classes in the past by attempting to bring them in the SC bracket. It will also enable these socially and economically backward classes the benefits of reservation after removing legal irritants. The move will leave greater space in the OBC quota for the remaining OBC caste groups.