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Parliament passes bill to club 7 castes in poll-bound Tamil Nadu under one nomenclature

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The Rajya Sabha on Monday passed the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill-2021 to club seven castes in poll-bound Tamil Nadu under a single nomenclature— Devendrakula Vellalars, amid allegations from the opposition that the bill was cleared with an eye on the upcoming polls

PUBLISHED ON MAR 22, 2021 10:11 PM IST

The Rajya Sabha on Monday passed the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill-2021 to club seven castes in poll-bound Tamil Nadu under a single nomenclature— Devendrakula Vellalars, amid allegations from the opposition that the bill was cleared with an eye on the upcoming polls.

Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu are scheduled to be held on April 6.

During the discussion of the bill, Union Social Justice and Empowerment minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot said the process, which started with the state government sending a proposal in 2015, took time to complete. “There is no connection whatsoever with politics or elections in Tamil Nadu,” he said, adding that the Registrar General of India (RGI) first vets proposals received from state governments, followed by an approval by the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST).

The bill was cleared in Lok Sabha last week and it will now go to the President for his nod.

Hitting out at the opposition camp on reservations, Gehlot asked, “Who ended the reservation for scheduled castes (SC) and scheduled tribes (ST) in the Aligarh Muslim University and the Jamia Millia Islamia University after declaring them minority institutions.” He added that the UPA Government did it. “We never even thought of ending reservation,” the minister said and asked who had defeated Ambedkar when he fought the Lok Sabha election.

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge during the discussion of the bill said that the Congress-led UPA had sanctioned work for the Dr Ambedkar National Memorial at Ambedkar’s residence at 26 Alipur Road in Delhi, and had allocated land for the Dr Ambedkar International Centre near Parliament while Gehlot argued that the work began during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and no land was acquired for the latter during the UPA.

The Modi government acquired the land, built the memorial, and also inaugurated it, he said.

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