The Congress’s top leadership on Saturday conveyed to Law Minister Veerappa Moily not to air his views on the caste census in public, seeking to end to the debate within the Congress and the government.
Moily, who has been publicly supporting a caste count, was told that since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had intervened in Parliament and referred the matter to a group of ministers (GoM), it was “untenable” on the part of any member of the council of ministers or the Congress party to speak out of turn.
He was also told that speaking in public or through the media not only creates confusion but also sends a message that the Congress and the government are divided on the issue.
“Let the GoM handle the matter,” was the party’s message to the law minister.
The directive came a day after a similar signal to Minister of State for Home Ajay Maken following his letter to 67 young MPs across political parties.
Maken is not against the collection of data related to other backward castes (OBCs) for better planning and funding of welfare programmes. His opposition is to the census exercise being used as an instrument for collection of information.
Besides the caste census, Moily was also asked not to speak on the issue of khap panchayats, known for their diktats prohibiting same gotra (sub-caste) marriages.
This directive came after Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda requested Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to restrain central leaders from airing their views that were being construed as the party’s stand on contentious issues.