The BJP’s top leadership is believed to be veering round to the view that the proposed caste census should count OBCs as a category rather than undertaking an individual caste headcount.
The party has to send its response to the Centre by August 7, and has called a meeting of its core group on August 6 to hammer out the differences within. A section of the party leadership opposing its stand in Parliament that there should be a caste census.
A senior BJP leader said on Monday it was advisable that an OBC count be taken up without taking up a headcount of individual castes.
This position is a middle path between the caste census line taken up by parties like the JD(U), Samajwadi Party, RJD, and closer to the stance Left parties’ have taken on the issue.
The BJP had supported a caste headcount in Parliament with an eye on the OBC vote — with Sushma Swaraj and Gopinath Munde taking a clear position in its favour — but, days later, the RSS opposed a caste census, calling it “divisive”.
Senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi went on record against the idea of a caste census. The opposition within led Bihar deputy CM and BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi to go on record saying that the party should stick to its stand on caste headcount and refrain from being seen as standing “against” the Bahusankhyaks (majority of the population).
After taking an initial stand in favour of caste headcount, the party embraced virtual silence on the issue once the RSS opposed its stand, and said the ball was now in the government’s court, which had to take a stand on the issue.