GUWAHATI: War of words between ruling Congress and opposition BJP on granting Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to six communities in Assam intensifies as assembly polls draw nearer in the state.Chief minister Tarun Gogoi said it is centre's responsibility to confer ST status as the state government has no role in it.
"State government can only play the role of a facilitator. Had the power been given to us on this front, we would have conferred ST status to the six communities long back," Gogoi said.
He added the state government had already recommended in favour of granting ST status to six communities from Assam on several occasions.
The six communities demandind ST are Koch Rajbongshi, Tai Ahom, Moran, Motok, Chutia and Adivasi. These communities forms substantial chunk of voters in 126 assembly seats.
Centre recently has constituted a committee to suggest modalities for granting ST status. The committee will give its report by May.
The BJP, eyeing to wrest power from Congress in assembly polls, argued that the NDA government took a positive step forward on ST issue by forming the committee which UPA could not despite 10 years in power.
"The formation of the committee itself shows our government at the centre is serious on the issue," BJP spokesperson Dayananda Borgohain said.


BJP charged Congress of indulging in petty politics on ST issue.

In the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls in 2014, BJP had promised ST status to six communities if it comes to power.

Gogoi however alleded constitution of committee for chalking out modalities was a "tactic of the centre to evade from the issue".

The chief minister argued modalities can be decided even after conferring the ST status.






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