The Rajya Sabha on Monday passed a Bill to group seven Scheduled Caste communities in Tamil Nadu under the nomenclature “Devendrakula Velalars”. The parliamentary approval of the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2021 is now complete as it was passed by the Lok Sabha last week.

The castes that will be clubbed under one nomenclature are – Vathiriyan, Devendrakulathan, Kalladi, Kadaiyan, Kudumban, Pannadi and Pallan.

The passage of the Bill assumes significance ahead of the Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu on April 6. This clubbing had been a long-awaited demand of certain sections within the communities, according to The Hindu.

During discussions on the Bill, Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot elaborated on the Centre’s measures to accord the rightful place to BR Ambedkar, PTI reported. Gehlot said that the central government had completed several projects launched in Ambedkar’s memory.

The Bill had passed in the Lok Sabha on March 19. However, no MP from Tamil Nadu was present when the proposed law was being discussed, according to The Hindu.

The Opposition had supported the Bill, but accused the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Centre of acting on the communities’ demand only because of the approaching elections, according to the newspaper. Congress MP Amar Singh said the demand should have been expedited, but the government “dragged its feet” just to make it coincide with the elections.

On the other hand, Shiv Sena MP Rahul Shewale demanded that the Centre be proactive in the case of Maratha reservations also.