After BJD and JDU, NCP come forward demanding caste based censustext_fields
Mumbai: After Orissa's BJD and Bihar's JDU, and NCP president Sharad Pawar on Monday demanded the Union Government to undertake a caste-based census and relax the 50 per cent cap on reservations to ensure social justice.
The NCP chief while addressing a Press conference said that his party will build public opinion against the Central government on the issue. The former Union minister also claimed that the Narendra Modi-led Central government misled people on the quota issue.
The constitutional amendment of restoring the right of the states to prepare a list of OBCs, taken away two years ago, is a mere eyewash, he said.
Unless the 50 per cent cap is relaxed, the Maratha quota cannot be restored. Similarly, the empirical data on OBCs should be shared with the states. Unless the data is available, it cannot be known how much representation needs to be given to smaller castes, he said.
Pawar said reservation in most of the states is above 60 per cent. Someone will have to show courage to speak in front of Modi. Deception is the only motive for the constitutional amendment," he said.
Earlier, on August 11, a delegation of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MPs from both the Houses of Parliament had met Union Home Minister Amit Shah at his Parliament chamber and submitted a memorandum demanding caste-based Census for identifying and enumerating the SEBC/OBCs.
The MPs in their memorandum said due to the non-availability of reliable and authentic data about the exact numbers of the SEBC and OBC it has become an impediment for taking up focused planning for the welfare of these communities.
In January 2020, the Odisha Cabinet had resolved for conducting socio-economic caste enumeration and the State had requested the Cabinet Secretary for conducting a census for SEBC and OBC category in General Census 2021.
On August 9, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar had reiterated his demand for the caste-based census, saying it would be in the best interest of the country and it was for the Centre to take a call on the matter. The Bihar Assembly had unanimously passed a resolution on conducting Caste Census in 2019 and again in 2020.
The Chief Minister also said he had written to Prime Minister Modi on the matter and his office had received the correspondence on August 4. He said, however, that there had been no response since then.
In February this year also, Kumar had batted for a caste-based census, but now his statements have assumed greater significance, as the Opposition is trying to make it a rallying point to corner the BJP ahead of the crucial UP elections.
The demand to conduct a caste-based census got momentum after Parliament passed a bill allowing states to decide who their Other Backward Classes (OBCs) are. The 127th Constitution Amendment Act, 2021, restored the power of states to identify socially and educationally backward classes (SEBCs), usually called OBCs.