GUWAHATI: National president of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) JP Nadda in a ‘goof-up’ on Monday said that the Centre has ‘already’ granted Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to Assam’s six ethnic groups of Koch Rajbongshi, Tai Ahom, Chutia, Matak, Moran and Tea Tribes.
However, the issue was still pending as a Group of Ministers (GoM) constituted by the Assam government for the preparation of modalities for granting ST status to the six communities was reportedly yet to furnish its final findings, which would then be sent to the Union government.
Nadda who was touring Assam’s Silchar on Monday to sound a poll bugle of the saffron camp for the ensuing state polls of 2021, in his address said that the Narendra Modi government has ‘already’ granted ST status to the six communities of Assam.
He said, “The issue of granting ST status to the six communities was pending for years and the previous Congress government did nothing. It’s only the BJP government that has considered the matter seriously and all these six communities were granted ST status without affecting the rights of the existing tribal population.”
While his statement has put the state BJP in a major embarrassment for the saffron camp of the state, others believed that Nadda’s statement was politically driven.
The chief coordinator of the Coordination Committee of the Tribal Organizations of Assam (CCTOA), Aditya Khakhlari told Time8, “When has this happened? We know that the GoM is still consulting with various stakeholders and has not submitted the final report to be sent to the Centre. Then it needs to be passed in the Parliament too. Nadda’s speech is misleading and only election centric.”
The CCTOA has been objecting to the demands of granting ST status to the six communities
JP Nadda: “In our submission, we have clearly told the government that we oppose the granting of ST status of the six communities. We demanded the government to rather ‘freeze’ the ST (plains) category so that no new groups can be added to the category. The government may create a new category if necessary,” Khakhlari said.
Nadda made the statement during BJP’s Vijay Sankalpa Samabesh at Slichar. Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and several other top BJP leaders were also present in the meeting.