The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Wednesday approved the inclusion of the communities 'Parivara' and 'Talawara' in the list of Scheduled Tribes (STs) in Karnataka.
"This will fulfil the long term demand of 'Parivara' and Talawara' communities for granting Scheduled Tribes status in Karnataka," said an official statement, adding that members of these communities will now be eligible to get the ST certificate from the state and be eligible for all benefits meant for the ST in the state.
The Karnataka government had recommended the two's inclusion as synonyms of 'Nayaka' appearing at SI. No. 38 in the list of Scheduled Tribes in the state.
Last week, in a bid to woo the Lingayats, a dominant community in the state, ahead of the assembly elections, the Karnataka cabinet decided to grant them the status of a separate religion.
"Based on the recommendations of Karnataka State Minorities Commission, the state cabinet has unanimously decided to grant status of religious minority to Lingayats and Veerashaiva Lingayats (believers of 12th century social reformer Basava's ideologies)," state Law Minister TB Jayachandra told the media after the cabinet meeting.
Lingayats, who worship Shiva as the universal god, and Veerashaiva Lingayats, together constitute the largest community (17%) in the southern state, and their votes could influence the outcome of the upcoming state assembly polls in April-May. The BJP is widely seen to have influence in the community which the ruling Congress is seeking to woo.
The BJP, whose Chief Ministerial face BS Yeddyurappa is a Lingayat, saw the Congress move as an attempt to divide the Hindu votes.
The state cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, had decided to forward the Commission's recommendations to the Central government for approval and notification under the National Commission for Minorities Act, the Minister said.