The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government is seriously considering including 11 Gorkha sub-groups in the list of Scheduled Tribes, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Sunday, reported The Indian Express.

Gorkhas in India mainly live in West Bengal, Sikkim, Uttarakhand and the North East. The 11 sub-groups that have been demanding Scheduled Tribe status are the Gurungs, Bhujels, Mangars, Newars, Jogis, Khas, Rais, Sunwars, Thamis, Yakkhas and Dhimals communities, according to The Times of India.

“We are committed to address all issues concerning the region,” Shah said on Sunday while campaigning for BJP candidate and Darjeeling MP Raju Bista. “We are also considering including 11 Gorkha sub-tribes in the Scheduled Tribe list.”

The home minister addressed the rally at Darjeeling through an audio call as he could not attend the event owing to bad weather.

The BJP had promised to include the 11 Gorkha sub-groups as Scheduled Tribes in its 2019 manifesto and also in the 2021 West Bengal Assembly polls. However, the party’s manifesto for the 2024 Lok Sabha election is silent on the matter, The Indian Express reported.

Voting for the Darjeeling seat will be held on April 26. The BJP has been winning from the constituency since 2009.

The Congress has fielded Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh national president Munish Tamang from the constituency. Tamang joined the party in March. The Hamro Party, which won in the 2022 Darjeeling municipal polls is also part of the Opposition INDIA bloc.

Meanwhile, the Trinamool Congress’ Darjeeling candidate Gopal Lama is supported by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha faction the Bharatiya Gorkha Prajatantrik Morcha.