Amidst a clamour from all political parties for a caste-based census, prominent OBC (other backward classes) leaders from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) Friday met Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on the issue.
Deputy leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha Gopinath Munde, RJD chief Lalu Prasad, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and JD-U president Sharad Yadav met Mukherjee in his office in the Parliament House to press their demand for registering the castes during the census exercise.
The meeting assumes significance in the wake of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement in the Lok Sabha assuring that government will take a decision on the issue shortly.
The meeting was also attended by Home Minister P.Chidambaram and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal.
Earlier, Chidambaram, replying to a short duration discussion on the issue, said that "nothing should be done that may affect the integrity of population census".
Mentioning the problems in including caste in the census, he opposed a caste-based count of people in the upcoming exercise.
"After Independence, as a matter of policy, the question relating to caste, other than the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, was not included," he added.