Caste-based Census a Contentious Issue in New Delhi
Both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Indian National Congress party (Congress) are locking horns over the sensitive census of those members of society who make up the “other backward classes” (OBC). Should this come to pass, it will be the first time that such a measure has been taken by any government census, in spite of there being calls for the same for many years now. There was a Socio Economic Caste Census carried out in 2011 under the Congress-led government, but the results were never published, and there has been much uproar on this subject, certainly when it comes to a repeating of this process with similarly anticipated results a decade later.
The critical Congress have been claiming that this OBC census is simply a political ploy by the BJP to garner votes in the upcoming elections. Perhaps ironically enough, it is the Congress themselves who have gone about making promises as to the inclusion of OBC candidates in their internal party committees. The BJP came to power on the strength of its efforts to woo the OBC community, something that it repeated on a smaller platform during the Uttar Pradesh elections that saw Yogi Adityanath become the Chief Minister.
In a statement to Mint, senior Lok Sabha member and chief of the Congress OBC cell, Tamradhwaj Sahu stated, “This is further complicating the issue and misleading the people. We have already demanded that the findings of the caste data done during the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) be released. There will be a clear picture once that is made public, but the government is not doing it. They have made this announcement because they want to reach out to OBCs before elections. After that they will forget about it.”