Lucknow: The Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) chief Mayawati attacked the Uttar Pradesh government for its decision to include 17 communities of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in the Scheduled Caste (SC) list.

Mayawati said that the decision is nothing but a fraud with people belonging to these 17 castes because they won’t receive the benefits of any of the categories as UP government will not treat them as OBCs.

“They won’t receive the benefits of belonging to SC as no state govt can put them in or remove them from any of the categories through its orders,” said Mayawati.

The decision to this effect was taken late Friday night and authorities were directed to issue a certificate to families belonging to these 17 castes.

The additions to the SC list are Nishad, Bind, Mallah, Kewat, Kashyap, Bhar, Dhivar, Batham, Machua, Prajapati, Rajbhar, Kahar, Pottar, Dhimar, Manjhi, Tuhaha and Gaur.

The move is likely to benefit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which can further erode the vote base of Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party.

Previously, both, the SP and BSP governments had attempted to include these groups in the SC category but failed to do so due to legal intervention.

In January 2017, the Allahabad High Court stayed Uttar Pradesh government’s order to include 17 backward castes in the Scheduled Caste category.

Former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Mulayam Singh Yadav had taken a similar step in the year 2005 when he included these castes in the SC list.

The then SP government amended the U.P. Public Services Act, 1994, to include as many as 17 OBC communities in the SC category. Since the power to declare any caste as SC rests with the Centre, the then State government’s decision, taken without the Centre’s consent, proved futile.

The move was overturned by the Allahabad High Court.

The BSP, however, vehemently opposed the idea and demanded increase in SC quota from the present quantum in the changed scenario. It also termed the move as a “conspiracy to dilute the reservation quota for Dalits.”

(With Inputs from Agencies)