‘Shared apprehension’: Tejashwi writes to 33 non-BJP leaders for support on caste census

The letter was addressed to various prominent political leaders, including SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee.
RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav (left) had accompanied Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar (right) as part of a delegation that the latter led in New Delhi on August 23 and met PM Narendra Modi seeking caste census in 2022. (PTI Photo)
RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav (left) had accompanied Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar (right) as part of a delegation that the latter led in New Delhi on August 23 and met PM Narendra Modi seeking caste census in 2022. (PTI Photo)
Published on Sep 25, 2021 05:09 PM IST
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Written by Sharangee Dutta | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader and Leader of Opposition in Bihar Assembly Tejashwi Yadav on Saturday gave a fresh push to the demand for holding a caste census in the country by reaching out to politicians across the country. He wrote a letter to 33 politicians, who are not from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Tejashwi took to Twitter to share a copy of the letter addressed to Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav. He also shared two images with the names of 32 other opposition political leaders to whom he has written the letter. The list includes Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati, Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) president Arvind Kejriwal.

The purpose of the letter, Tejashwi wrote on the micro-blogging site, is about the political leaders’ “shared apprehension and responsibilities” in the demand for socio-economic and caste census, and the “apathy of the ruling party (BJP) at the Centre towards the same.”

In the letter, the RJD leader cited that sample surveys by National Family Health Survey and other enquiry commissions established by different state governments over the years show that “caste plays a persistent role in creating disadvantages for communities.” “These sample surveys underline the importance of a comprehensive national caste census,” the letter added.

The central government has maintained its stance on not conducting a Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) again in 2022 after it was done for the first time in 2011 – when Congress was in power, saying that the task is administratively complex and goes against the government’s policy decisions. Furthermore, the central ruling dispensation on Friday told the Supreme Court that the 2011 caste census is “fraught with mistakes and inaccuracies” due to which it has been rendered “unusable.”

Tejashwi’s letter might be a reciprocation following the central government’s statement to the apex court. He wrote that the Census of India needs to “deliberate upon the flaws and gaps in the way” it conducted the first SECC in 2011 with assistance from experts. The RJD leader further stated that addressing the loopholes in the 2011 census will help in “correcting the error-ridden process” in the upcoming census.

He also pointed out in his letter that a caste census would bring attention to “pressing concerns” that India needs to address with urgency, and also play a “pivotal role in ensuring social harmony and national cohesion.”

Notably, Tejashwi was part of the delegation led by Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, which met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi on August 23, seeking a caste census in 2022.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2021