Caste-based census inevitable: BJP national secretary Pankaja Munde
Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) national secretary and its Other Backward Class (OBC) face from Maharashtra Pankaja Munde has called for a caste-based census for OBCs during 2021 census.
Terming caste-based census inevitable, the BJP leader tweeted a video clip of a 2010 speech in Lok Sabha by her father Gopinath Munde, in which the late Union minister had demanded caste-based survey to provide “equal opportunities” to OBCs.
Her tweet raised some eyebrows as the Narendra Modi government in the Centre has already denied the same demand made by the state government.
“We are the citizens of the India, and our census should be conducted … OBCs caste-based enumeration is necessary and inevitable… 2021 census should be caste-based. There’s no doubt that the voice raised in villages will reach the Capital without fail,” her tweet in Hindi stated.
Last January, Maharashtra legislature had passed a resolution, unanimously demanding caste-based survey for the 2021 census. However, the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India informed the legislature that caste-based survey was not possible.
“As per the central list, the total number of OBCs in India is 6,285, while the numbers go up to 7,200 if the lists prepared by states and union territories are taken into account. As people use their clan, gotra, sub-castes and caste names interchangeably and due to the phonetic similarities in the names, it may lead to misclassification of castes. It, hence, will be difficult to meaningfully tabulate and classify caste returns,” the letter by the commissioner had stated.
Chandrakant Bavkar, president, OBC Sangharsh Samanvay Samiti, said the group has been pressing their demand for caste-based census, as it will clear the scenario of backwardness among communities under various categories.
“After Marathas were given reservation, there has been a rising dispute between communities. We also contest the state backward class commission’s survey – based on which the Maratha community was given reservation – as no scientific method was adopted for it. There has been no caste-based survey conducted after 1931, leading to the anomalies about the backwardness of the communities given reservation in various categories. If the Centre is not conceding to the demand, the Maharashtra government should go for caste-based census at state level on the lines of the surveys conducted in other states such as Tamil Nadu and Karnataka,” he said.