What are Scheduled Caste Left and Scheduled Caste Right in Karnataka?

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The BJP, perhaps in a first, released a list of names of its office-bearers in Karnataka along with their caste identities.

The list featured names of 25 party officials---including vice-presidents, state general secretaries and secretaries---with their caste identities mentioned in brackets.



Among the names---Bagalkot MLA Govinda Karajola and former minister M Somasekhar from Mandya---saw an interesting identity attached to their names. While the former was shown as 'SC Left', the latter was described as 'SC Right'.


bjp list

How is there a difference between SC left and right?

This distinction is quite interesting. Why do we differentiate the SC as a right and left?

To get to the answer, we need to dwell into history. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) uses the term 'Adi Karnataka' while referring to one group of the Kannadiga aboriginals who are indigenous to the state of Karnataka.

In the mid-1830s, a British traveller named Kristopher Fellowman made considerable research on the community which is also called 'Samantha' and 'moola kannadiga kula'---once a wealthy one and belonging to the upper caste in Kshatriya's Kula (a ruling caste status of kings) centuries ago.

Edgai---the left hand and Balgai---the right hand

The Samanthas divided their roles and responsibilities into 'Edgai' and 'Balgai' sub-groups, which translated into left and right hands, respectively. While the Balgais comprised monarchs and administrators, the Edgais were made responsible for work like farming, hunting and state's security.

Adi Karnataka began to wane after the rise of Kshatriyas and arrival of British

The Adi Karnataka's strength started weakening around the middle of the 17th century, thanks to the political rise of various Kashtriya communities. During the British rule, the foreigners allegedly joined hands with the Patils and Gowdas to defeat the Adi Karnataka clan and the number of its members got reduced alarmingly.

In the early 19th century, the Samanthas were stripped of prpoerty rights and even driven out of their settlements and forced to live in caves and forests. Their women and children were forced into slavery after the males were killed and the practice continued well into India's dependence. Many women, who still had some wealth, were forcibly married off in Gowda and Patil communities. Several communities still continue with the practices of the Adi Karnatakac clan.

The Adi Karnataka clan was awarded SC status after Independence

After Indepenece, when the Government of India undertook a survey to identify the castes, they found the Adi Karnataka to be an endangered community and it was awarded the Schedule Caste status.

Today from social, the left and right have become political rivals

Today, with the caste factor deepening in the functioning of the Indian democracy, the tradition of SC Left and SC Right, which was once a social segregation, has evolved into a political tool.

Both the Congress and BJP today have to keep in their minds the potential of both the 'SC Left' and 'SC Right' groups while preparing their election plan for both Karnataka's Assembly election and general poll.

In 2008, the numerically dominant left dumped the Congress and backed BJP

In 2008, for instance, the 'SC Left' members were left annoyed with the Congress for it alleged that the grand-old party was appeasing the 'SC Right' and voted for the BJP in that year's Assembly election. The BJP came to power in Karnataka that year---for the first time ever.

Ahead of 2009 LS poll, the left again threatened to alienate BJP

But ahead of the parliamentary election the following year, the same group threatened to withdraw support from the BJP if it did not give it the desired political representation.

The 'SC Left' is a numercially bigger group than tha 'SC Right' [60 lakh to 40 lakh] in Karnataka and it accused the Congress, which ruled the state for a majority priod, of ignoring it politically, socially, economically and also educationally.

BS Yeddyurappa, eyeing a comeback in 2018, is cautious this time

BS Yeddyurappa, who was the first chief minister of the BJP government in the state, along with DV Sadananda Gowda, the former BJP chief in Karnataka, were also approached by the SC Left to address its problem. Yeddyurappa, who recently made a return to the thick of things by getting appointed as the state BJP chief, has kept the issue in his mind before the state goes to its next election in 2018.

Hence, the list with a clear mention of caste identities.

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